llinois History Day

Regional competitions (Northern, Central, and Southern) will use the following dates:

  • Opening Day for submissions: March 13, 2021
  • Closing Day for submissions: March 26, 2021, by midnight
  • Award Ceremony: April 3, 2021 (Times TBD)

State competition will use the following schedule:

  • Opening Day for submissions: April 9, 2021
  • Closing Day for submissions: April 23, 2021, by midnight
  • Award Ceremony: May 3, 2021 (Time TBD)

National History Day Information:

Registration Opening Date: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 by 12:00 PM EDT
Registration Closing Date: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 11:59 PM EDT
Website Lock-Out Date: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 11:59 PM EDT
Project Upload Date: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 11:59 PM EDT

Virtual National Contest will be Sunday, June 13 - Saturday, June 19, 2021

Student Registration Fee: $150
No Teacher Registration Fee

You can find the 2021 National Contest Registration Handout in the Coordinator Portal (as a Google Doc and a Word Doc) here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1KtzIgs4jLTZGoWU2JmhrFFtgTF_yczMz?usp=sharing

National Contest Registration Instructions will be sent out in late February/early March.

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.


Logo for NHD - National History Day


Logo for Illinois History Day

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.

For all updated material for the 2021 competition, click here.


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 ALPLM.Education@Illinois.gov 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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