This past June a number of staff from the AHA and I had the opportunity to serve as judges in the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest, held at the University of Maryland-College Park.
Not many 16-year-olds spend their off-school time sitting in a dusty archive, weeding through original railroad records. Nor do they have the inclination to track down and develop an oral history of the first generation female law school graduates at a renowned Ivy- League institution.
In the news this week, the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial has opened to the public but features quotes that have left some scratching their heads. Then, consider signing up to be part of a Smithsonian Channel discussion about September 11. We also link to an experiment in crowdsourced article reviewing, a collection of pieces on music history, and the interesting origins of state park names. Finally, watch a video of highlights of the most recent National History Day and look back at the vacations of past presidents.
Every year National History Day engages and inspires thousands of students in the work of history through papers, websites, documentaries, exhibits, and performances. This year’s competition (centered on the theme of “Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, and Consequences”) culminated this week in national-level competitions at the University of Maryland at College Park.
The winners were announced yesterday, through a live broadcast. Within each division, Junior (grades 6, 7, and 8) and Senior (grades 9, 10, 11, and 12), there are 9 competition categories: Individual Exhibit, Group Exhibit, Individual Documentary, Group Documentary, Individual Performance, Group Performance, Paper, Group Web Site, and Individual Web Site.
This week we learned of the retirement of House Historian Robert V. Remini after five years on the job. See also a silly video from the University of Bergen (Norway) against plagiarism that comically crosses the line itself (how many film and television references can you count?), watch the finals from National History Day live online, read an NPR story about World War II’s oddest operation, learn of the Oral History Program at the University of North Texas, and follow the history of housing finance.
The following text is an alert from the National Coalition for History. It is crossposted on the NCH web site.
National History Day (NHD) is asking for your help to gain support from members of Congress for a $1 million National History Day appropriation that will help state programs grow and improve. NHD NEEDS YOUR HELP TODAY! We have two more days left and it is critical that you pick up the phone to contact your members of Congress and ask them to sign the NHD “Dear Colleague” letter (available at the bottom of this page on the NCH site).
Last week the finalists in National History Day descended on the University of Maryland for one last round of performances and presentations. Then, last Thursday, the winners were announced. We’ve listed them below, but encourage you to visit the contest winners page on the NHD site for a more complete list (including all medalists, outstanding entry winners, special award recipients, and more).
This year’s National History Day centered on the theme “Conflict and Compromise in History.” Events took place Sunday, June 15 through Thursday, June 19, 2008, at the University of Maryland, with students presenting papers, exhibits, performances, documentaries, and even web sites (a new category this year). The winners of this year’s National History Day were presented their awards on Thursday morning of last week, and the ceremony was broadcast live through a webcast on the History Channel’s web site. Congratulations to all of the winners, but also the more than 500,000 students across the country who participated this year.