NHD 2020 Topic Exploration: Breaking Barriers in History

Use the general reference articles in the databases and websites listed below to explore three topics of interest. Fill out each of the handout pages provided to help you in your topic selection.

Topic Exploration

What should you be considering when choosing a research topic?


Student Resources

Full-text magazines, academic journals, news articles, primary source documents, images, videos, audio files and links to vetted website

Britannica High School

Get quick facts and in-depth information on a wide variety of subjects. Start research projects with multiple resources in one place. Find multimedia to use in projects and presentations.


Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia

While you will not be able to use this site as a source for research, Wikipedia is a good place to some general background information to help you decide about a topic.

The sites below support NHD each year by curating resources from their collections and providing links to them by suggested topics.

DocsTeach: Breaking Barriers in History

You can explore the linked NHD 2020 suggested topics to view primary sources from the National Archives.

Newseum Resources for 2020 NHD

Look at the list of examples compiled from the Newseum resources to help you brainstorm ideas for your National History Day project.

Smithsonian Learning Lab NHD 2020 resources

Look through the Breaking Barriers topic suggestions from the Smithsonian Learning Lab.

NEH Edsitement - Preparing for National History Day

Scroll down to "2020 Breaking Barriers" to explore the topic ideas.

Ken Burns UNUM

Explore these clips for inspiration as you chose a topic to research.

2020 NHD Themebook

Skim the 2020 NHD Themebook to get topic suggestions.


Thinking Like a Historian

Watch this video to help you learn how to do historical research.