Lincoln Memorial University

National History Day

Participate in National History Day!

The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum (ALLM) welcomes students and teachers from 6th-12th grades who are interested in conducting research for National History Day. As one of the largest privately held collections of items and books on the life of Abraham Lincoln, the ALLM can aid students as they search for primary sources. Likewise, the Museum staff possess a wide range of research and technical abilities, and are happy to mentor students through the research, writing, and technical processes.

What is National History Day?


2019/2020 National History Day Theme: Breaking Barriers in History

This year's NHD theme is Breaking Barriers in History. From our materials on African American soldier Benjamin Trail, to Union nurse Julia Wheelock, to Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, the ALLM is prepared to assist you as you explore and write about a topic related to this year's theme. Each year, NHD provides a theme book to guide student projects. Click on this link to access this year's theme book.

Where can I compete in my state?

Located at the intersection of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia, the ALLM aids any student or teacher in the surrounding area who may be interested in participating in National History Day. Click on the links below to learn how you can compete in your home state.

Tennessee History Day website

Kentucky History Day website

Virginia History Day website


In the 2019-2020 season, the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum is proud to sponsor the Tennessee district competition for Campbell, Claiborne, Grainger, Hancock, Hawkins, and Union counties. If you are a teacher who is interested in participating in the district competition, consider attending our free July 30, 2019, professional development workshop (complete with stipend and lunch), or reach out to [email protected]

How can the ALLM be a resource to me?

The ALLM is happy to provide research, development, and technical support to students who are participating in National History Day. On July 30, 2019, Tennessee teachers are invited to the campus of Lincoln Memorial University in MANS 300B for a special professional development workshopThis workshop is a joint presentation of the Tennessee Historical Society and Teaching with Primary Sources – MTSU, which is administered by the Center for Historic Preservation. Participants are introduced to Tennessee History Day, a year-long, project-based curriculum that engages students in grades 6-12 in the process of discovery and interpretation of historical topics. Topics of discussion include: how do students benefit from History Day? what projects can they develop? how does History Day lead to increased learning? how can student performance be measured? what state standards does History Day meet? what resources are available to teachers? Participants also are exposed to the Library of Congress’ Teaching with Primary Sources program, which helps teachers use the rich reservoir of digitized primary source materials to design challenging, high-quality instruction. Workshop participants will focus on skill building for project-based learning.

The workshop begins at 9:00 am and ends at 3:30 pm in MANS 300B on the Lincoln Memorial University campus. Participating teachers receive a stipend, lunch, and curriculum resources. You can register for the workshop here. Contact ALLM Program Coordinator Natalie Sweet at [email protected] with questions.


If you are a local teacher in Campbell, Claiborne, Grainger, Hancock, Hawkins, or Union counties in TN; Bell County, KY; or Lee County, VA, we are happy to hold a National History Day workshop with your class, either in-person or by Skype. Please email [email protected] for more information.


Access this free National History Day Archival Guide to learn about the collections your students can explore at the ALLM:

National History Day Archival Guide


Access the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum's resources:

Museum Lesson Plans (includes primary source and context lessons)

Online Exhibits


Access these free guides to accessing primary source databases online:

Chronicling America Guide

Library of Congress Guide

Tennessee Virtual Archive Guide

Virginia Memory Guide


Teachers, you can schedule a special NHD tour

Are your students looking for inspiration for National History Day? Schedule a special tour of our galleries where Program Coordinator Natalie Sweet can talk to your students about the various subjects your students might base their projects on as they work on this year’s “Conflict and Compromise” theme. To schedule an appointment, call 423-869-6235. Note your desire for Natalie to lead a National History Day tour when scheduling.


423.869.3611 | 800.325.0900
6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752