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Historic Videos for National History Day Projects

by on December 2, 2013


Today’s post comes from Neve Schadler, former summer intern in our Education and Public Programs Division.

Each year some of our nation’s most promising future documentary-makers and website designers participate in National History Day (NHD) and create individual or group documentaries and websites based upon a specific theme. In order to assist the 6th through 12th graders who are taking on the challenge of bringing a part of American history to life through documentary film and the internet, the volunteer and intern staff at the National Archives explored our vast moving images holdings to find video clips for our young historians to use.

Students will find over 500 videos related to this year’s NHD theme—Rights and Responsibilities—on our new Historic Video Footage web page. Videos are categorized by topic, such as “Human and Civil Rights” or the “Responsibility of Government” to help students find videos related to their projects. Plus we have included a sampling of almost 30 videos in a special NHD playlist our YouTube channel.

You can find even more NHD resources on our main National History Day page: online research tools, information about doing archival research in person, news about upcoming NHD workshops for teachers and students, and a special DocsTeach page.

During this video project, we had the privilege of taking a peek into both public and private moments in history, from the downtime of soldiers fighting on the front, to the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. And as we identified those videos that relate to rights and responsibilities, we had the opportunity to walk in the shoes of those who have come before us in our nation’s history by witnessing snippets of their lives.

This is the same familiarity with history which we hope that NHD students will gain. Our goal is for them not just to learn how to complete research and dedicate themselves to an intensive project, but also to experience history, and to learn that while it may have taken place years, decades, or centuries ago, it is still relevant to who we are as individuals and as a nation today.


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