National History Day


Plimoth Plantation is proud to support National History Day, and we are excited to work with students and teachers on projects that explore America’s early beginnings - both Colonial and Indigenous.

What is National History Day?

National History Day (NHD) is a year-long academic program focused on historical research, interpretation and creative expression for 6th- to 12th-grade students. By participating in NHD, students become writers, filmmakers, web designers, playwrights and artists as they create unique contemporary expressions of history. History day teaches students to:

  • Conduct in-depth research
  • Use primary and secondary sources
  • Work with libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews, and/or historic sites
  • Analyze and interpret their findings
  • Write and present their historical research

For more information, or to find out how you can get involved, visit the National History Day website and start exploring this year's theme book.

Click here for more Massachusetts History Day Contest Information and District/State Competition Dates.


Why study Colonial and Indigenous New England histories?

“The establishment of a permanent English colony at Plymouth in 1620 accelerated the transformation of New England in the 17th century - creating American institutions and traditions, fostering a hybrid colonial-Native regional society and, two centuries later, becoming the stuff of legend.

Plymouth is the original immigration story - a group of people arriving in a land unknown to them, only to find it a complex and interconnected network of Native communities each with its own rich cultural traditions, challenges, and aspirations. In significant ways, America is the product of what happened here 400 years ago - the choices made, the risks taken, and the adaptation of community structures to new cultural and political realities. Today, we make choices that will affect the next 400 years.”

- Kate LaPrad, Deputy Director for Special Projects and Strategic Partnerships

Here are a few Plimoth Plantation-related project ideas:

  • The 1621 Harvest Feast (otherwise known as the “First Thanksgiving”)
  • The Bridgewater Purchase (1656)
  • King Philip’s War
  • Nature in Plymouth Colony and the Wampanoag Homeland
  • The stories of Tisquantum (Squanto), Epenow, Coneconam, and other Native people kidnapped and then sold into slavery in Europe
  • The impact of Mayflower’s arrival in New England (1620)
  • European-Indigenous Diplomacy and Community Building in early New England
  • The Pilgrims as Immigrants
  • Religion in Early New England


Online Resources

There are many more NHD topics with connections to Plimoth Plantation. Here are a few resources to help you in discovering our nation’s 17th-century beginnings. More resources are available at

Got a question about your NHD project? Click here to email us.



Who are the Wampanoag?

Who were the Pilgrims?

The Faith of the Pilgrims

Mayflower & Mayflower Compact

1621 Harvest Feast/Thanksgiving

Plimoth & Patuxet Ancestors



Virtual Fieldtrips: 17th-century English Village

Virtual Fieldtrips: Wampanoag Homesite

Scholastic News: The Wampanoag Way (grades 1-3)

Scholastic News: Pilgrim Life (grades 1-3)

Paddling Through History



Thanksgiving Interactive: You are the Historian