“Documents–diaries, letters, drawings, and memoirs–created by those who participated in or witnessed the events of the past tell us something that even the best-written article or book cannot convey.”
– The National Archives
As all National History Day (NHD) students and teachers know, nothing in history happens in a vacuum. For a student to fully understand the connections between their topics, the past, the annual theme, and the present they must immerse themselves in researching both the subject and the context set by the time period. Understanding the time period allows students to answer critical questions such as:
- Why did my topic happen at this particular time and in this particular place,
- What were the events or the influences that came before my topic, and
- How was my topic influenced by and how did it influence the economic, social, political, and cultural climate of the time period?
Primary sources are the best means of capturing the words, the thoughts, and the intentions of the past, and help researchers interpret what happened and why it happened.
To learn more about how primary sources can be successfully utilized, join NHD, the National Archives, and the White House Historical Association for a free webinar on October 7, 2014 at 6:00 PM ET.