History Fair Rules & Guidelines

Read the NEW RULES for all projects submitted to the Chicago Metro History Fair. The rule book contains (1) the rules that all projects must follow, (2) required materials for all projects, (3) the specific, additional rules for each category, and (4) information on how projects are evaluated.


There are two ways you can view the History Fair Rule Book:

1. History Fair Rule Book (for flat sheets 8.5 x 11 stapled printing)

2. History Fair Rule Book (for booklet printing)
→ Printing instructions: 1. Landscape, 2. Double-sided, 3. Flip on short-edge.

new rulebook cover

The History Fair website also offers individual project category rules that contain ideas and best practices for developing the final project. See the project category links below to access individual category rules, as well as category manuals and project examples



National History Day has released a Spanish version of the competition rule book!

WARNING -- the History Fair rule book (see above) supersedes the NHD rule book.

Especifically of note:

  • Topics must be connected to local or state history and use NHD theme in order to be eligible for the national competition.
  • Exhibits do not need to hold to a 500-word count unless selected for NHD.

    NHD Eligibility

    Do you know what that means? "NHD" stands for "National History Day" which is a nationwide history contest. Each year, the national office names a historical theme that many students use to frame their topic. The Chicago Metro History Fair offers students the opportunity to participate in NHD, but it is not mandatory—students are eligible to advance all the way to the state level and win awards and scholarships for any topic in local or state history.

    Teachers must register projects as "NHD Eligible" and students should address the question in their Summary Statement in order to be considered by the NHD judges. The NHD qualifiers are selected by the state competition in May.

    There are specific rules governing projects that are selected to represent Illinois at the National History Day in June. If selected, students should expect to revise and improve their projects further to meet those requirements. History Fair staff will be available to help students prepare for NHD.


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