Illinois History Day

As the state affiliate of the National History Day program, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum oversees the Illinois History Day competitions across the state each year. Seeking to cultivate the growth and development of young historians, while also inspiring a love of history, Illinois History Day encourages students to choose a topic related to National History Day’s annual theme, conduct research on the topic, and present their findings in one of five categories: Research Paper, Exhibit, Documentary, Performance, or Website.

Illinois students compete in two divisions, Junior (6th-8th grade) and Senior (9th -12th), across four regions -- Northern, Central, Southern, and Chicago Metro. Within each of these regions, students participate in local and regional competitions to determine who will advance to the state competition held in Springfield each spring. Students who rank highest at the state competition advance to the National History Day competition at the University of Maryland. At the national competition, Illinois students compete against students from 57 other affiliate National History Day states or regions.

Change is in the Air

As National History Day updates their rule book for the 2020-2021 competition, expect to see some exciting changes coming for the Illinois History Day program! As we receive guidance from the national office, ALPLM will work with regional coordinators to share information with teachers and students about the changes most relevant to them.

Get Involved

If you are an educator, student, or parent who wants to know more about Illinois History Day, or are interested in helping judge competitions, email for more information. If you don’t have a specific question, but would like to stay in the loop, sign up for the IHD listserv.

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