The Chicago Metro History Fair works with teachers and students in middle grades and high school classrooms to "Make History!" They discover the past, better understand the present, and consider the future.
History Fair inspires students to build their reading, writing, critical thinking, and presentation skills. Once selecting a topic connected to Chicago or Illinois history that interests them, they learn how to research, analyze primary and secondary sources, and build an argument based on evidence. They confront questions of significance, credibility, perspectives, change, context, and impact. History Fair methods meet Common Core goals in History and in Reading and Writing. (Watch this video to learn firsthand about the impact on students.)
CMHF holds annual competitions in which students present their projects to the public. After spending months developing their projects, students produce exhibits, documentaries, performances, papers and websites which are presented in a series of contests. More than 500 adults volunteer each spring to serve as judges at History Fair competitions. It is an engaging and rewarding experience.
History Fair students not only become historians, they also become better citizens. In conducting research, they go into the community to visit historical sites and cultural institutions, and interview people who are experts or participants in a historic event. In studying the history of their community, students learn how decisions are made in the social, cultural, economic, and political realms that affect their lives.
CMHF also offers programs throughout the year that support project-based, inquiry methods of learning history and improve history education.
After nearly 40 years as an independent education organization, CMHF joined the Chicago History Museum in October, 2016. It continues its strong partnerships with the Newberry Library, the Chicago Public Library, the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as other cultural and historical institutions, foundations, and corporations.The History Fair encompasses the city of Chicago, suburban Cook, Lake, Kane, and DuPage counties.