University Relations and Communications

Regional National History Day event to be held at MSU Billings this weekend

March 15, 2012



Dr. Tom Rust, Department of History, 657-2891
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


History Day logo

MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Young historians from Billings and Laurel meet at MSU Billings this weekend to showcase their research of important events and people.


The event is part of a regional National History Day competition that will send winners on to the statewide competition in Helena in April.  The regional competition takes place in the College of Education on the Montana State University Billings campus. The contest, awards ceremony and exhibits are open to viewing by the public. Admission is free.


The documentary and presentation competition begins Saturday, March 17 at 10 a.m. The exhibits, to be located in Room 122 of the College of Education, will be open to the public starting at 11:45 a.m.


Students from Billings Central schools, Laurel and Billings Lewis and Clark Middle School will participate by displaying the products of their research, which was done for much of the first part of this school year. Students research a project of their choice and will present their results as a type of museum exhibit, documentary, a website or a traditional paper. 


Coordinated by the History Department at MSU Billings for the past three years, National History Day has seen growing interest from schools around Montana.  Dr. Tom Rust, an award-winning history professor at MSU Billings, puts together the National History Day program with support from entities such as the Montana Association of REALTORS, Humanities Montana and the Montana State Historical Society.


When Rust reinvigorated the program four years ago, two schools and about 30 or so students from the Billings area participated. This year, it has grown to include 12 participating schools with about 1,500 students statewide. While not all students put together presentations for the competitions, the growth has necessitated regional competitions before the state event.


The other regional competition will be held in Missoula and the state National History Day event will be held April 21 at the Montana Historical Society.


The nationwide program, which is aimed at nurturing interest in historical research and comprehension among students in grades 6-12, was also honored for its work by the White House.


National History Day was awarded the prestigious 2011 National Humanities Medal by President Obama at a White House ceremony in February. Dr. Cathy Gorn, executive director of NHD, accepted the award on behalf of the NHD staff, board and honorary advisory council.


The National Humanities medals honor achievements in history, literature, education and cultural policy. For the first time ever, a K-12 education program received the National Humanities Medal.  The citation for National History Day was for being “a program that inspires in American students a passion for history. Each year more than half a million children from across the country compete in this event, conducting research and producing websites, papers, performances and documentaries to tell the human story.”


Rust said the growth of the Montana program demonstrates a continued passion for understanding the past.


For more information on the program or this weekend’s contest, contact Rust at 657-2891.