About the National Archives

Remarks at National History Day 2021

Greetings from the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, which sits on the ancestral lands of the Nacotchtank peoples!  I am David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States.

The National Archives and National History Day are a perfect combination. We make history come alive though the exploration of our records. Each record, large or small, is a representation of a greater story. It is up to you to tell the story!  In fact, students across the country have used the records of the U.S. Government to enhance their history projects.

In case you don’t know the National Archives. Here is a little background…We were established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt with the purpose of collecting, protecting, and encouraging the use of the records to allow the American public to hold their government accountable for its actions, to study our history, and, most importantly, to learn from our past. We are the final destination for the most important records in the U.S. Government. We have over 14 billion documents in our holdings covering almost every subject imaginable. We also have 44 million photographs, and miles and miles of video and film. Our records go back to the founding of our country and are as modern as the tweets coming out of the White House.

The National Archives has been a friend and supporter of history education with National History Day for decades. 

National Archives staff assist students with their research…

We serve as judges at the local, regional, state, and the national levels of this competition…

We coordinate contests and programs across the country…

We conduct workshops for History Day teachers…
And so much more.

This past year has been difficult for everyone. National History Day students, coached and supported by their teachers and families, have persevered and completed their projects in a challenging year in which many have attended school and their classes in non-traditional settings. You should be proud of what you have accomplished.

Enjoy the ceremony and congratulations on a job well done!