About the State Historical Society > News > 2012

State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release April 27, 2012

Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

Iowa students to participate in National History Day state contest

Governor Terry Brandstad to attend awards ceremony Monday

Grades 9-12 compete Monday; grades 6-8 set for May 7 at State Historical Museum

DES MOINES – More than 650 Iowa students will compete in National History Day in Iowa contests Monday and May 7, 2012, at the State Historical Museum in Des Moines.

Governor Terry Branstad will attend the awards ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Monday for the NHD Senior Division state contest, which includes students in grades 9-12. The NHD Junior Division state contest includes students in grades 6-8 who will compete May 7, 2012. Winners from both divisions advance to the 2012 Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland June 10-14, 2012.

National History Day is an academic enrichment program that helps students learn about historical issues, ideas, people and events. The year-long academic adventure fosters students’ enthusiasm for learning and encourages them to use primary, secondary, community and statewide resources on a subject of their choice related to an annual theme. The theme for 2012 is “Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History.”

Working individually or collaboratively in groups of two to five, students compete in a variety of categories, including historical papers, individual and group exhibits, documentaries and performances and websites.

Last year, 69 Iowa students competed in the National Finals against nearly 2,500 students from the United States, Guam, America Samoa, Department of Defense Schools in Europe, and Shanghai, China, for scholarships and prizes. Thirty-two Iowa students earned honors at last year’s competition, including three who took top honors in their category and received Gold Medals.

In addition to discovering the world of the past, NHD helps students develop the following attributes that are critical for future success:

  • critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • research and reading skills
  • oral and written communication and presentation skills
  • self-esteem and confidence
  • a sense of responsibility for and involvement in the democratic process


The NHD program in Iowa has been coordinated by the State Historical Society of Iowa since 1994 and is sponsored by the State Historical Society, Inc., and the History Channel. The State Historical Museum is at 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. More information about NHD in Iowa is available at www.iowahistory.org or by contacting Millie Frese at 515-281-6860 or millie.frese@iowa.gov.


The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is responsible for developing the state’s interest in the areas of the arts, history and other cultural matters with the advice and assistance from its two divisions: the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa Arts Council. DCA preserves, researches, interprets and promotes an awareness and understanding of local, state and regional history and stimulates and encourages the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts and public interest and participation in them. It implements tourism-related art and history projects as directed by the General Assembly and designs a comprehensive, statewide, long-range plan with the assistance of the Iowa Arts Council to develop the arts in Iowa. More information about DCA is available at www.culturalaffairs.org.


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