Project Categories


One of the most appealing aspects of the History Day program is the variety of projects that students can produce based on their research.  It’s important to base your selection of projects on the topic you choose, the idea you hope to convey, and your own personal interests and talents.

 Contest Rule Book for all projects

Documentary / Exhibit / Paper / Performance / Web Site from NHD

Paper /Exhibit / Performance / Documentary Website rubrics

Exhibit / Performance / Web Site  guides from Wisconsin Historical Society

Paper / Exhibit/ Performance / Documentary Website checklists

The following are brief descriptions of the different protect categories, with quotes from the Wisconsin History Day website.

Exhibit – “An exhibit is a visual representation of a topic and its significance in history, much like a small museum exhibit. Labels and captions should be used creatively with visual images and objects to enhance the message of the exhibit.” Exhibits can be done individually or in a group of 2 to 5.  Exhibit(s) from NHD website, sample exhibits from NHD Wisconsin

Documentary – “A documentary may take the form of a videotape, slide show, Power Point presentation, or similar types of multimedia presentations. It uses images such as film, video, or photographs and audio such as music, excerpts from tapes, and voice-overs to present a topic.” Documentaries can be done individually or in a group of 2 to 5. Documentaries from NHD website, some sample documentaries

Performance – ”A performance is a dramatic portrayal of a topic and its significance in history. It should be original and creative, not simply an oral report or a recitation of facts.”  Performances can be done individually or in a group of 2 to 5. Performance(s) from NHD website, some sample performances

Historical Paper – A paper is the traditional form for presenting historical research and interpretation. As an alternative to a research paper, students may choose to write an historically-based creative paper, such as a fictional diary or an epic poem.” Papers may only be done individually. Paper(s) from NHD website

Web Site – A website is an internet based site of information and images that relates the importance of historical research.  The website category is a new national category, and it may be done individually or as a group.  However, there is only one website category for the Junior level, so individuals and groups compete together.  Web Site Rules from WHD website, web site rules from the NHD website

Each project or category has specific rules that must be followed for the History Day program.  Make sure you read them carefully!

In selecting your project category, you have a lot of things to take into consideration.  So you want to work alone or in a group?  Do you like to write, perform, create something tangible, and/or use computers?  Which format will convey your information the best?  For additional help and ideas with selecting a project, consult the “Presentation” section of the Wisconsin History Day Student Handbook and Bill Lickliss’ article called “Help! I Have A Topic, Now Which Project Category Do I Choose?” from the National History Day curriculum Book.

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