Finding and Using Sources Resource GuideLegal ResearchInternet Guide Tips for Contacting Scholars
Thesis DevelopmentFinal ProductPlagiarismCMHEC ResourcesSite Map
FORMS: Developing a TopicFollowing the Secondary Source Trail Analyzing a Secondary Source
Primary Sources: The "Stuff of History" How to Look at Old Maps How to Read Photographs

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Putting It All Together: The Final Product

Typically, students know the type of final product they will create early on in the History Fair process, although sometimes the nature of the sources may cause a student to turn to another medium (for example, if visual sources are not available or effective for a documentary or exhibit, a student may need decide to write a paper or create a performance instead).

Once the research, analysis, and interpretation is completed students will then turn to producing a presentation of their work for the public. The guides, below, will support student efforts to communicate effectively and imaginatively. CMHEC highly recommends that students read the Rules and Guidelines thoroughly before diving into final production.

Exhibits: Become a Museum Curator and Exhibits Designer

"Exhibiting History" offers a classroom or individual learning tool
"Exhibiting History" is PowerPoint presentation produced by CMHEC which may be used in the classroom with an LCD projector or by individuals on computers. In the presentation we encourage students to think of their exhibit as a "mini-museum" where superior research and interpretation go hand-in-hand with effective and imaginative design. The presentation offers a "labels approach" to the exhibit text that is different than the older captions approach. It communicates the thesis and central points of the interpretation so that resembles a museum exhibit and presents a less disjointed narrative.

The presentation has simple production values-no video, animation, or narration. It is composed of text and pictures on a white background so that the file is small enough to download or use as a printed copy with students.

You can view the presentation online by clicking here. The file will open in a new browser window and may take a minute or so to load, depending on your internet access capacity. When you are finished viewing, click on the "X" in the upper right hand corner to close that window and return to the CMHEC website in the original browser window.

If your browser does not support the viewing of the PowerPoint file (.ppt), you can download & install Microsoft's PowerPoint Viewer 2003. Click here to go to the Microsoft download website.

To obtain your own copy, you can download the PowerPoint presentation for individual or classroom use (16MB) . Right mouse click (or, if you are on a Mac, Control-click) here and select Save As and then navigate to the directory where you want the file saved. The amount of time required for download will vary depending on your internet access capacity.

If you would prefer, you can purchase a copy of the "Exhibiting History" CD from CMHEC for $10 (includes shipping and handling). Make check payable to the Chicago Metro History Education Center.

National History Day
NHD offers an excellent guide to creating exhibits. A few recommendations and rules are not applicable to History Fair, but there is plenty of helpful advice. See in particular: "Orientation/Segmentation/Explanation" and "Levels of Text."

"HELP! For National History Day Exhibit Projects"
An exhibit designer's booklet for doing History Fair exhibits produced by the pro's at the Hoover Institution. Cultivate the inner artist or graphic designer! (After the research and interpretation is completed….)

Writing Effective Labels
"Exhibit Label Basics, Part 3: Content"
How to write strong labels that do the job for your exhibit. Written for beginners, Kenneth DeRoux, Curator of Museum Services, Alaska State Museum, condenses the best tips on writing exhibit labels into a readable two page document. Thought not all tips apply to History Fair, it is very worthwhile.

Performances Blend History and Entertainment

For students who enjoy performing in front of others and want to take what they've learned as historians and communicate it dramatically, then the Performance category might be the right choice.  Characterization, props, costumes, and script-writing take the place of caption and fomecore.  Performances provide a chance to make history "come alive."

The following guide to doing History Fair Performances was written by Christy Neider, a former History Day student and history teacher;  it was revised and expanded by Sherry Rollo, also a History Day student and now a practicing attorney.  CMHEC also contains a library of videotaped performances that may be viewed.

From Research to Script
Props and Costumes
Performing Your Script

Download the entire Performances Guide  (pdf format)


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Research Papers

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