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National History Day in Iowa District Contest

District Contests

National History Day in Iowa provides students with the opportunity to showcase their work and receive feedback on their projects from judges in their local communities across nine district contests.

New to NHD in Iowa? Review the district contest map to find your district contest. If you have questions or concerns regarding your district contest location, please contact NHD.Iowa@iowa.gov.

Interested in judging at a district contest? Click here for sign-up instructions.

District Contests Registration

Teacher registration instructions for the 2024 district contests are available here.

Student registration instructions for the 2024 district contests are available here.

District Contests Calendar

Grant Wood District | Kirkwood Community College | Cedar Rapids | Register Here

This district is named for Grant Wood, the Iowa artist who created the famous "American Gothic" painting. His history and legacy span the district, from the one-room Antioch School he attended near Anamosa to his studio in Cedar Rapids to his home in Iowa City to a gallery of his work in Tipton. His stylized landscape paintings of the rolling landscape made a significant impact on the area's arts and culture during his lifetime.

Grant Wood District ScheduleDate
NHD in Iowa 2024 Grant Wood District Contest Registration GuideAvailable January 8
Registration OpensJanuary 8
Registration ClosesMarch 12
In-Person ContestMarch 20
Contest Winners Posted to Website and Websites UnlockedMarch 21
Comment Forms ReleasedMarch 22

Historic Highways District | Central College | Pella | Register Here

The first automobile highways to connect the nation from west to east (Lincoln Highway) and north to south (Jefferson Highway) crossed through this district and intersected at the Reed-Niland corner in Colo. The area was a hub of activity that increased in the late 1920s following a long-fought battle to develop the Great Whiteway (now Highway 6), which ran from Chicago to Davenport, Des Moines, Council Bluffs and Omaha.

Historic Highways District ScheduleDate
NHD in Iowa 2024 Historic Highways District Contest Registration GuideAvailable January 8
Registration OpensJanuary 8
Registration ClosesMarch 19
In-Person ContestMarch 27
Contest Winners Posted to Website and Websites UnlockedMarch 28
Comment Forms ReleasedMarch 29

Mississippi River District | St. Ambrose University | Davenport | Register Here

Just as it has carved the physical landscape, the Mississippi River has shaped a remarkable path through the history of human settlement. For the first Native Americans, early European pioneers, and modern-day Iowans, the river has influenced the cross-currents of migration, commerce, industry and recreation. Many of Iowa’s oldest towns hug the river’s west bank and reflect its rich history.

Mississippi River District ScheduleDate
NHD in Iowa 2024 Mississippi River District Contest Registration GuideAvailable January 8
Registration OpensJanuary 8
Registration ClosesFebruary 25
In-Person ContestMarch 4
Contest Winners Posted to Website and Websites UnlockedMarch 5
Comment Forms ReleasedMarch 6

Montauk District | Northeast Iowa Community College | Calmar | Register Here

This district is named for Montauk, the majestic home and farm of Iowa’s 12th governor, William Larrabee. Larrabee served as the Governor of Iowa from 1886 until 1890 and then retired to Montauk, his family mansion in Clermont which is now a State Historic Site. The Larrabee family furnished and maintained this two-story 1874 mansion and estate for more than 100 years, adapting with the changing agricultural life. Larrabee and his wife were also committed to ensuring the children in their community received the best education possible and in 1912 built and donated the Ideal School to the town of Clermont.

Montauk District ScheduleDate
NHD in Iowa 2024 Montauk District Contest Registration GuideAvailable January 8
Registration OpensJanuary 8
Registration ClosesMarch 11
In-Person ContestMarch 19
Contest Winners Posted to Website and Websites UnlockedMarch 20
Comments Forms ReleasedMarch 21

Sergeant Floyd District | Northwestern College | Orange City | Register Here

The Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through northwestern Iowa in August 1804. Sergeant Charles Floyd Jr. was the only member of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery Expedition to die on the journey. He died on August 20 just south of present-day Sioux City and was buried on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River. The region has documented the history of the expedition at the Sergeant Floyd River Museum, Sergeant Floyd Monument, Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, M.V. Sergeant Floyd Inspection Boat, Lewis and Clark State Park and Keelboat, and numerous works of art in the area.

Sergeant Floyd District ScheduleDate
NHD in Iowa 2024 Sergeant Floyd District Contest Registration GuideAvailable January 8
Registration OpensJanuary 8
Registration ClosesMarch 4
In-Person ContestMarch 12
Contest Winners Posted to Website and Websites UnlockedMarch 13
Comment Forms ReleasedMarch 14

Spirit Lake District | Buena Vista University | Storm Lake | Register Here

Although most Iowans associate the state’s three Great Lakes – Spirit Lake, plus East and West Okoboji – with sunny summer vacations spent fishing, boating and riding the old wooden roller coaster at Arnolds Park, the area wasn’t always so carefree. Tensions between Native Americans and white settlers erupted into the Spirit Lake Massacre during the winter of 1857 and marred the state’s generally peaceful record of Native and white relations. The site’s Abbie Gardner Sharp Cabin became one of Iowa’s first tourist attractions and still stands as a reminder of the state’s early struggles.

Spirit Lake District ScheduleDate
NHD in Iowa 2024 Spirit Lake District Contest Registration GuideAvailable January 8
Registration OpensJanuary 8
Registration ClosesFebruary 27
In-Person ContestMarch 6
Contest Winners Posted to Website and Websites UnlockedMarch 7
Comment Forms ReleasedMarch 8

Sullivan Brothers District | Central Rivers AEA | Cedar Falls | Register Here

This district is named in honor of the five Sullivan brothers, natives of Waterloo who enlisted in the U.S. Navy with the stipulation that they serve together. All were assigned to the U.S.S. Juneau, which was torpedoed during the Battle of Guadalcanal, and all five Sullivan brothers perished. As a direct result, the U.S. War Department adopted the Sole Survivor Policy to protect families from losing multiple members in combat and named a Navy ship for the brothers.

Sullivan Brothers District ScheduleDate
NHD in Iowa 2024 Sullivan Brothers District Contest Registration GuideAvailable January 8
Registration OpensJanuary 8
Registration ClosesMarch 17
In-Person ContestMarch 25
Contest Winners Posted to Website and Websites UnlockedMarch 26
Comment Forms ReleasedMarch 27

Voltaire Twombly District | Indian Hills Community College | Ottumwa | Register Here

This district is named for Voltaire Twombly, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic efforts as a flag bearer for the 2nd Iowa Infantry at the Battle of Fort Donnelson (Tennessee) in the Civil War.

Voltaire Twombly District ScheduleDate
NHD in Iowa 2024 Voltaire Twombly District Contest Registration GuideAvailable January 8
Registration OpensJanuary 8
Registration ClosesFebruary 22
In-Person ContestMarch 1
Contest Winners Posted to Website and Websites UnlockedMarch 2
Comment Forms ReleasedMarch 3

Western Trails District | Iowa Western Community College | Council Bluffs | Register Here

The region around Council Bluffs was a gateway to adventure and westward migration in the early to mid-1800s. In addition to the explorers Lewis and Clark, who explored Iowa’s western border, pioneers followed the Oregon Trail, hopeful gold miners rushed along the California Trail, and Mormons trekked along the Mormon Trail to seek religious freedom in the Salt Lake Valley. Many of these early travelers began their journey at the Missouri River crossing at Council Bluffs.

Western Trails District ScheduleDate
NHD in Iowa 2024 Western Trails District Contest Registration GuideAvailable January 8
Registration OpensJanuary 8
Registration ClosesMarch 3
In-Person ContestMarch 11
Contest Winners Posted to Website and Websites UnlockedMarch 12
Comment Forms Released March 13