If you’re not sure which category you’d like to enter, this quick guide will help you think about your options. Be sure to refer to the complete National Capital History Day rulebook to make sure your entry meets all the requirements.
Essay: Like to write? This category is for you. You can submit an essay that you create especially for National Capital History Day, or you can take an essay you’ve already submitted in class and revise it to meet National History Day requirements.
The least you need to know: If you’re in Grade 9 or 10, your essay must be 750-1,000 words. If you’re in Grade 11 or 12, your essay must be 1,200-1,800 words.
Exhibit: If you like research and finding creative ways to present it, this category will allow you to do both. An exhibit is simply a visual representation of your research — it includes some written material, but can also include illustrations, models, charts, photographs, and other objects to enhance your work and underscore your research.
The least you need to know: Projects must be no larger than 40 inches wide, 30 inches deep and six feet high. DVD players, projectors, video monitors and computers are permitted in exhibits, but must not run for more than a total of three minutes — and viewers and judges must be able to control any such media devices.
Performance: Love the stage? You’ll find the drama in history in this category. A performance is an original dramatic portrayal of your topic’s significance in history. Your script must be based on your research, and although it should have dramatic appeal, the drama should never be at the expense of historical information.
The least you need to know: Performances must not exceed 10 minutes and you must provide a script for the judges.
Documentary: Think you’re the next Ken Burns? Get behind the camera and make your own original, award-winning documentary. You can use photographs, film, video, audiotapes and graphics to produce a documentary film that communicates your topic’s significance.
The least you need to know: Documentaries must not exceed 10 minutes in length and all entries must be entirely student produced.
Website: Love to surf? Create a website that shows off your ability to use website design software and computer technology to communicate your topic’s significance in history. This is the most interactive of all our categories. Your historical website should include primary and secondary sources, interactive multimedia and, of course, historical analysis.
The least you need to know: Your website must be original, though you can use professional photographs, graphics, video, recorded music etc. within the site. Your site may contain no more than 1,200 visible, student-composed words.