The National History Center logo, which reads National History, an initiative of the American Historical Association

National History Center of the American Historical Association

The AHA established the National History Center in 2002 as a separate nonprofit organization that focuses on the relationship between history and public policy. Unlike the AHA itself, the center does not engage in advocacy other than the imperative of informed historical context as an aspect of policy discourse and formation.

The center provides historical perspectives on current issues and promotes historical thinking in the service of civic engagement through nonpartisan programs that are intended for the benefit of policy makers and the press, educators, and the public at large. Its initiatives are intended to bring the insights of history and historical thinking to bear on the challenges that confront our nation and the world and to encourage an informed appreciation of the ways the past shapes the present.

The center's Congressional Briefings program provides members of Congress and their staff with the historical background needed to understand the context of current legislative concerns. It brings leading historians to Capitol Hill to provide non-partisan briefings on past events and policies that shape the issues facing Congress today.

A joint venture of the center and the History and Public Policy Program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Washington History Seminar meets each week, January to May and September to December. The Washington History Seminar aims to facilitate understanding of contemporary affairs in light of historical knowledge of all times and all places and from a variety of perspectives.

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National History Center of the American Historical Association
400 A St. SE
Washington, DC 20003

Primary Contact: Eric Arnesen,


Eric Arnesen
George Washington Univ.

Assistant Director
Rachel Wheatley
National History Center

Updated 12/21/20