The National History Day (NHD) program is a year-long education program that culminates in a national contest every June. Wyoming History Day (WHD), administered by the American Heritage Center, occurs every year in April, with regional contests occurring in March.
NHD engages students in grades 6-12 in the process of discovery and interpretation of historical topics. Students produce dramatic performances, imaginative exhibits, multimedia documentaries, interactive websites, and research papers based on research related to an annual theme. This year's theme is "Turning Points in History." These projects are then evaluated at local and state competitions, and have the opportunity to be sent to the national competition in Washington DC.
History is a vitally important subject for every student to learn and understand, and WHD aims to engage students and get them excited about the topics they choose to study. By allowing students to choose their own topics relating to the national theme, WHD encourages independent, proper research. Students that participate in and get inspired by NHD become writers, filmmakers, web designers, playwrights, educators, and more as they create unique, contemporary expressions of history.
Many different people participate in the Wyoming History Day program, including Wyoming students and teachers, the University of Wyoming, Wyoming Historical Society, the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources, and community businesses like West Wind Enterprises, that generously support the Wyoming History Day program with grants and special awards. Those that excel in WHD have the potential to earn hundreds of dollars towards their higher education through these special awards and scholarships.
About the American Heritage Center
More than 100 years ago, Grace Raymond Hebard—UW faculty member, administrator, librarian, and Wyoming historian—began collecting the papers and reminiscences of Wyoming’s pioneers. Her research on the history of Wyoming, the West, emigrant trails, and Native Americans became the nucleus for what is known today as the American Heritage Center (AHC). Officially established in 1945, the Center now holds over 90,000 cubic feet of historic documents and artifacts in more than 3500 collections—placing the AHC among the largest non-governmental archives in the nation.
Today, the AHC contains important holdings in numerous areas. Its western history archives include materials on early women’s suffrage and political achievements, native Americans, ranching, politics, authors, and under-documented communities. Other featured collecting areas include transportation (railroad, highway and air travel), mining and energy extraction, entertainment and popular culture (with important collections featuring Hollywood, music, radio, television and the comic book industry), natural resources and the environment, and military history. The AHC also serves as the primary archives for the University of Wyoming. We are #ALWAYSARCHIVING.