Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
As we roll into November, more students across Minnesota are beginning the History Day research process. Whether you are knee-deep in primary sources at this point or have just opened your first encyclopedia, here are some helpful hints to guide you along your research path.
For students looking for high-quality, in-depth resources on a few specific topics, the University of Minnesota has several fascinating collections and centers that can provide excellent information. Here are a few that may spark their interest.
Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. The CHGS is dedicated to education about the Holocaust and other genocides. The website includes some sources, featuring virtual exhibits, histories and narratives, and links and other references, but the collections at the center are more comprehensive. Students can visit the CHGS from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday - Friday or by appointment.
Immigration History Resource Center. The IHRC promotes research on international migration. Sources include recently digitized and translated immigrant letters, personal papers, records of immigrant organizations, and ethnic periodicals. Students can visit during regular hours or make an appointment.
Social Welfare History Archives. The SWHA collects information on social services and social reform organizations. Subjects addressed in their collections include the settlement house movement, the social work profession, sexuality-related issues such as birth control, child welfare, community planning, and health care. The library is open weekdays and Saturday mornings, and appointments are recommended.
Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies. The Tretter Collection covers GLBT topics from all time periods, and includes sources such as books, manuscripts, digital images, community newspapers, artifacts and more. The collection is open weekdays and Saturday morning, and appointments are recommended.
Upper Midwest Jewish Archives. The UMJA includes the holdings of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest. The collections include records of community organizations, synagogues, and women’s organizations, personal papers, and regional holdings. Students must gain permission to use the archives. Archivist Susan Hoffman can guide students in the process of gaining permission.
Visit the Andersen Library website for information on other collections that may be helpful to a student’s research.
Our first History Day workshop of the year, held yesterday at the History Center, was a fun and interesting discussion about “Debate and Diplomacy in History.” History Day staff and teachers considered the meanings of the words debate and diplomacy, the complexities of this theme for students, and the surprisingly vast array of potential topics.
A sampling of some of the fascinating topics discussed at the workshop:
Stay tuned for more topic ideas, or attend our second theme workshop on Tues., Nov. 16.
As summer ends and school begins, the History Day season is officially on! 2010 was a great year for Minnesota History Day, culminating with a fantastic showing by the Minnesota delegation at the national competition in June. In all, Minnesota captured seven medals, including a first-place win in the senior group performance category. For complete national results, visit our website.
The History Day program is off and running as soon as September begins. Here are a few items to get you started in the 2010-2011 season:
Stay tuned to the blog for further updates, topic ideas, research suggestions and more, throughout the 2011 season!
State History Day is one month from today, and registration forms are due tomorrow. All exhibit, documentary and performance regional finalists must have their forms in our office by tomorrow (website and paper students are already registered). You can drop them off or fax them in.
Address: 345 Kellogg Blvd. W, St. Paul. Our offices are on the second floor, across from the Education Center.
Fax number: 651-259-3434
Remember that you can make any changes that you want between regions and state, as long as your category and topic remain the same. Exhibit students: If you would like to purchase a new exhibit board, we have some available. Individual boards must be picked up at the History Center; we can ship boards in groups of 10. White boards are $7.00, plus $2.00 for a title board. Black boards are $8.00, plus $3.00 for a title board. Contact Ali Kappes to place your order.
If you have been chosen as a regional finalist and are headed to state on May 1, it would be a really good idea to polish and increase your resources. Although it is important what your final project looks like, it is even more important that your research is as solid as it can be. Judges will be surveying your bibliography very critically to make sure that you have sought out a variety of reliable sources. Take these next few weeks as an opportunity to improve not only the look of your exhibit or the costumes of your performance, but also the primary and secondary sources that have illuminated your topic.
This is also a good time to reevaluate your bibliography and make sure that your sources are listed correctly. Make sure that all of your primary sources are actually primary. Remember that a primary source is a source that was created at the time of an event or created by a witness to an event. Timelines, general information websites, most biographies, individual quotes and sources that are current but have given you a lot of information are not primary. The judges will be checking to make sure that all your sources are listed properly, so ask a teacher, parent or History Day staffer to determine if your sources are correct.
If you were chosen as a regional finalist and will be headed to the State History Day competition on May 1, you have an opportunity to get a bit of extra help with your project. The History Day staff will be conducting Category Help Sessions for any state-bound students who want some feedback as they make changes to their projects.
Twenty-minute sessions with HD staffers will be available on one of two dates:
If you would like to take advantage of this great opportunity, e-mail Jessica Ellison with the following information:
These help sessions are first-come, first-served. We will try to accommodate time requests. If you choose to sign up, bring your project (performers, be prepared to perform live) and your bibliography. Staff will review your project and make suggestions for improvement. DO NOT sign up if you are unwillingly to make some changes to your project. HD staff is happy to help you, but you have to be ready to take advice and run with it.
Welcome to regional event season! Our events begin today with Metro Senior at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, and throughout the month of March, 11 other events will take place at various locations. To see a list of all event locations, visit the Event Info website.
If you are new to the History Day competition process, here are some helpful hints to get you through your exciting, yet sometimes nerve-wracking experience at the regional events.
1. Get your registration forms in on time. Schedules need to be made in advance, and if we don’t have your forms well before the event, we don’t know that you need a space at the event.
2. Dress accordingly. Remember that this is an academic competition, and you are presenting yourself as a historian. Leave your pajama pants and ratty t-shirts at home!
3. Bring at least four paper copies of your bibliography and process paper. Don’t bring them only on a flash drive!
4. Arrive early to register and check out your judging space. It’s good to know the layout of your judging room or where your exhibit will be.
5. Greet the judges with a smile and a handshake. Don’t be too nervous around the judges; they are there to learn from your project.
6. View other people’s projects. This is a time for you to learn, too.
7. If you advance to state, your registration deadline is April 2, 2010.
8. Enjoy yourself! This is a great time to present your work, hang out with your friends, look at some amazing projects, and add something impressive to your academic resume.
For many History Day students, research will entail a few trips to the school library and multiple trips to the Internet. But the school library only has so many books on World War II and women’s suffrage, and the Internet certainly has its limitations. Encouraging students (or enticing them with extra credit) to move beyond school walls and the allure of Google will not only improve their research experience and skills, but it will also help them create more well-rounded projects.
Some of you may have students who are already thinking about primary sources for their History Day projects. But even if that step is far in the future for you and your students, it’s not a bad idea to start compiling a list of reliable websites where students can access some excellent primary sources. Of course, we always encourage students to get their hands on actual primary sources at libraries and archives, but the Internet is becoming a better and better resource for young researchers.
Here are a few sites that have some excellent primary sources available:
Library of Congress American Memory: Encourage your students to narrow the field as much as possible by choosing specific collections. The Teachers’ section of this website also has some excellent, subject-sorted sources.
National Archives History Day Resources: The Archives assembled some of their sources related to particular Innovation topics, as well as connections to other topics within the subject areas.
Harvard University Library Open Collections: Harvard has collected some intriguing sources based on four different topics — Women and Work, Immigration, Diseases and Epidemics, and Expeditions and Discoveries. Women Working is particularly helpful.
Yale Law School Avalon Project: The documents from Yale Law span several thousand years, although more are available in recent centuries. The topics are mainly law and diplomacy.
Famous Trials: A law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City has assembled documents and context about more than 50 famous trials, from the Trial of Socrates to the Trial of Zacarias Moussaoui.
American Journeys: This collection contains thousands of documents related to the exploration of America, from 1000 to 1844, including the journals of Lewis and Clark.
There are many more fantastic websites with extensive primary sources, but these are a few reliable sites with vast holdings. If you encounter others, feel free to pass along the tip!