Event: Chronicling America for NHD

Old News Is Good News
(for National History Day Projects)!

A Virtual, Hands-On Mini-Camp
on using Chronicling America
for Your National History Day Project


On Tuesday, June 18, 2024, from 10 am to 12:15 pm, the Arkansas State Archives’ National Digital Newspaper Program Advisory Committee will offer a live, interactive mini-camp on using historic newspapers to build strong and innovative National History Day projects. This mini camp is fast-paced and hands on, so come prepared to have fun while you learn!

Chronicling America is an amazing historic newspaper database provided by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities in conjunction with state partners, including the Arkansas State Archives.  The database includes news as early as 1756 and as late as 1963.  For example, you can find editor Charles P. Bertrand’s Editorial Address in the Arkansas Advocates first issue in 1830.  You can read the  Arkansas State Press’s coverage of Elizabeth Eckford’s terrifying attempt to enter Central High alone in 1957.  Chronicling America offers free access to millions of newspaper pages, most of which contain newspaper articles and opinion pieces that can serve as excellent, necessary primary sources for National History Day.  This camp will give you a head start on your 2024-2025 NHD project! 


Camp will be conducted entirely on Zoom, so all participants must get the permission of a parent or legal guardian to join.  Participants must give Zoom access to their cameras and microphones for the duration of the session so that everyone can participate.  Instructions will be provided.


This pilot program is limited to 30 student participants,

so register early!

This camp is intended for students who have already competed in NHD.




Submit your questions here (GOOGLE FORM)

Pre-Session:  9:45-10:00 am:  Zoom session opens.
Participants can test their technology and resolve issues.
Session 1:  10:00-10:45:  Introduction to Building a Better National History Day project with Chronicling America
Participants will learn
  • The 2024-2025 National History Day theme and strategies for successful NHD projects from judges
  • How to read and use the historic newspapers that are available for free through the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America, including
    • what this amazing database contains
    • strategies for successful searching
    • and more!
Participants will test features of Chronicling America and interact through discussion as well as Zoom’s reaction buttons, Zoom chat, and polls. Plan on staying engaged!
Session 2:  10:55-11:45:  Individual Research in Breakout Rooms with Professional Mentors
Participants will research their own possible topics in virtual breakout rooms with professional mentors with extensive historical research backgrounds.
Bring your own ideas if you have them, but we’ll have mentors who can help you find inspiration for topics too!

Session 3:  11:50-12:15:  Whole-group Rap and Wrap!
Participants will share
  • specific things they learned about using Chronicling America for NHD, including tips
  • cool news they found
  • questions they have for the whole group

Facilitators and Research Mentors:
Faculty and staff from the State Archives, the University of Central Arkansas, and the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville will work with NHD competitors in full session to walk students through the great potential of Chronicling America for their NHD projects and then mentor their initial research in small groups.  Most of these mentors have also judged NHD, so they know about winning projects!



Get started now with Chronicling America with these great guides from the Arkansas State Archives!

National History Day offers an overview of how to get started with your project.

The University of Central Arkansas works with historical and educational institutions across the state to coordinate Arkansas’s National History Day competitions and holds the state finals competition every April.  


Dr. Guy Lancaster, editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, and his team have put together a guide to the 2024-2025 NHD theme.  We’ll provide a link to the guide in our mini camp.


Sponsored by the Arkansas State Archives’ National Digital Newspaper Program’s Advisory Committee with support from the University of Central Arkansas and the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.