Minnesota Historical Society M-Flame Logo

Theme Information

2016 Theme: Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History

Each year, the National History Day office chooses a theme to help students direct their research to show a connection between the theme and their topics. The themes that are chosen are broad, allowing students to research topics on all levels from local history to ancient history. In order to draw a connection to the theme, students must understand the historical significance of their topic and answer questions about time, place, and context. Understanding the impact and significance of the topic will help define why the topic is important and draw this connection to the theme.

The 2016 History Day theme is “Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History.” Students should look beyond the topics that first come to mind, such as Columbus or Lewis and Clark, and begin to understand the many different areas of history that can connect to these ideas. Students do not need to address all three elements of this year's theme, but should look for connections between these ideas when they exist within a topic.

Theme Sheets and Theme Book

Topic Ideas and Brainstorming

Graphic Organizers and Activities

Future History Day Themes

(Subject to change by the National History Day office)

2017 - Taking a Stand

Past History Day Themes

2000 - Turning Points in History
2001 - Frontiers in History
2002 - Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History
2003 - Rights and Responsibilities in History
2004 - Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History
2005 - Communication in History: The Key to Understanding
2006 - Taking a Stand in History
2007 - Triumph and Tragedy in History
2008 - Conflict and Compromise in History
2009 - The Individual in History: Actions and Legacies
2010 - Innovation in History: Impact and Change
2011 - Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences
2012 - Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History
2013 - Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events
2014 - Rights and Responsibilities in History
2015 - Leadership and Legacy in History

Themes are staggered so that your students won't repeat a theme, even if they participate in History Day every year.

National History Day in Minnesota is sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society and the University of Minnesota, Department of History
Minnesota Historical SocietyUniveristy of Minnesota