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Welcome to Michigan History Day! There are many different ways to get involved with MHD. Click on a role below to learn more.


Teacher/School Librarian/Homeschool

Historical Organization or Museum


Students & Teachers/School Librarians/Homeschool

Please take a few minutes and tell us a little about yourself. Click the link below to open a brief survey.

Getting to Know You

The goal of the Michigan History Day program is to encourage students to explore historical subjects through hands-on study. Students research a topic and then share their findings by creating an exhibit, website, documentary, performance, or paper. The steps below will get you started, but to learn more you should read through the National History Day Contest Rule Book.

Step One: Topic Selection

  • Every year, History Day has a different theme. Your topic may focus on any geographic area, historical period, event, or individual or group, but it must relate back to the annual theme. Learn about this year’s theme.
  • Start researching topics. When choosing a topic, keep in mind that you need to be able to explain the historical significance of your topic. This may be more difficult if only a few years have gone by. We suggest an event, person, or idea that occurred at least 25 years ago.
  • Once a topic is selected, begin to narrow the topic.

Step Two: Research

  • You will need to use both primary and secondary sources for your History Day project. Start with this list of resources.
  • Take careful, legible notes, and write down where the information came from. As you create your entry, you will have to cite your sources.
  • Evaluate your sources. Compare many different sources to make sure that the information is consistent.

Step Three: Create Your Project

  • Write a thesis statement.
  • Create a History Day project. Check out resources for each type of category. Are you going to work alone or in a group of two to five students? Remember, if you want to write a paper, you can’t work with a group. View sample projects from the National Contest.
  • Write a process paper and annotated bibliography. You do not need to write a process paper in the paper category.

Step Four: Competitions

  • School-level competition—Usually occur in late January or early February. Each school will be limited to sending the top three entries in each of the nine categories. (In schools where grade levels include two or more age divisions, then the top three entries for each grade division will be accepted).
  • District competitions—Usually occur in late February or March. The District Information page lists contact and contest information for each district. You can also use this page to find your district.
  • State competition—Usually occurs on the last Saturday in April. Register for the State Finals and view contest information.
  • National contest—Occurs in June at the University of Maryland campus in College Park, MD. Learn more about the national contest at

Historical Organization or Museum

Students don’t have to participate in the program through a school, any student from grades four through twelve can create a project. One thing that all students need is an adult to help mentor them as they create a project and participate in competitions. MHD is a great way for local historical organizations or museums to interact with students in their area. You could reach out to a teacher and see if you could help support students while they conduct research or work with a small group of students as they work outside of school.

Below is an example of a local historical organization working with a high school teacher and the public library to support students. Staff at the Historical Society of Michigan are available to help you implement a similar program in your area. E-mail to get started.

Hamtramck Project





Historical Society of Michigan 7435 Westshire Dr., Lansing MI 48917
Email | Phone (517) 324-1828 | Fax (517) 324-4370

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