History Day

History Day in Connecticut is part of the National History Day program. This annual competition engages students in grades 6-12 in the process of researching and interpreting a historical topic of their choice related to an annual theme. Working individually or in small groups, students are encouraged to find primary and secondary resources on their subject through research in libraries and museums, interviews, and visits to historic sites. Detailed information, contacts, and guidelines are available here.

The theme for 2017 is Taking a Stand in History and interested students are welcome to incorporate Archives & Special Collections materials in developing their History Day projects.  Teachers and students are encouraged to contact Laura Smith to discuss specialized workshops, field trips, or other visits to Archives & Special Collections.

You can find many primary sources from the collections we have here in Archives & Special Collections in our digital repository, which includes photographs, oral history interviews, historical documents and maps from Archives & Special Collections. Of particular interest are the Nuremberg trial resources in the Thomas J. Dodd Papers.

Tips for middle and high school students to know before arriving at a research institution:

Connecticut Archives Online has developed a page, available on Connecticuthistory.org, about “The Who, What, Where,When and Why of Archives: How to Use Them.”

Students may also find useful the National History Day Annual Theme Sheet, and a wiki with advice on how to find and use primary sources, created by the Society of American Archivists (SAA) National History Day Committee. SAA also provides a useful guide — Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research — that can help students find and evaluate primary sources available through the archives.

Before you come to do research, Archives & Special Collections, like other historical research centers, has rules and restrictions associated with the use of materials in its care. Middle and high school students are welcome to use the materials but should be aware of the following:

Bring identification, like a student I.D.
All researchers are asked to fill out a registration form
Backpacks are not allowed in the reading room; researchers are given a locker in the coatroom to place their personal belongings
Researchers may not bring food and drink, pencils, or bags of any kind into the reading room
Researchers may bring laptop computers into the reading room
You may bring and use your own camera to make copies of selected materials and are given a sheet to list the images you take
Check the hours page for updated information on when we are open

Databases for primary sources

The University of Connecticut Library Digital Repository is a database that is growing every day with primary sources from the collections in Archives & Special Collections.

Connecticut History Illustrated has images from many of Connecticut’s archives, libraries, historical societies and museums.

Connecticut State Library Digital Collections

Connecticuthistory.org is an online encyclopedia of “stories about the people, traditions, innovations, and events that make up the rich history of the Nutmeg State.”

Connecticut Archives Online will help you find where in the state are archival collections.

Docsteach.org holds items from the National Archives with important documents from all eras of American History.

100 Milestone Documents has documents in the National Archives and Records Administration that chronicle the history of the United States from 1776 to 1965.

Digital Public Library of America is a national digital library with thousands of documents. Of particular interest are their exhibitions and primary source sets.