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National History Day (NHD) is an exciting academic enrichment program that helps students learn about historical issues, ideas, people, and events. In 2001, Wisconsin became an official participant in National History Day. The Library supports the program by annually hosting over 500 middle school students for tours and research visits. In addition to organizing and hosting the research tours, staff members from Archives, Youth Services, and Reference also act as judges at local, regional, state, and national competitions and give one-on-one coaching to any student interested in improving their project for higher level competition. In May of each year, the library hosts its own contest, called the Washburn Awards, offering cash prizes for projects that demonstrate exceptional primary source research.
The 2018 NHD theme is Conflict and Compromise in History.
Research & Primary Sources
Primary sources are the foundation of an outstanding NHD project. Try this website if you need help understanding primary sources. You can find print primary sources by searching our catalog with the words [primary source] + letters, diaries, journals, speeches, correspondence, and interviews. Books with primary source material are clearly marked with yellow tape that says "Primary Source."
The following resources are paid for and available to La Crosse city residents who have a valid library card.
- American National Biography
- New York Times Historical
- Reader's Guide Retrospective (This is an index to older articles in magazines. You will not find actual articles in this resource.)
The following resources are available to all State of Wisconsin residents who have a valid library card.
- History Reference Center
- Military and Government Collection
- Newspaper Archive
- Explora for Middle & High Schools
There is a wealth of primary source material to be found online. These resources are all free on the internet.
- World history primary source documents
- Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is a vast national digital library of materials from the Library of Congress, Internet Archive, universities, and countless other sources
- United States primary sources from the National Archives
- Recollection Wisconsin is a treasury of primary source material from across the state of Wisconsin including materials from the La Crosse area
- Wisconsin Historical Society
If you are unable to find materials locally, you can request books or other materials through Interlibrary Loan.
This is the slide show we present as part of most of our NHD class tours. We offer it here as a refresher, or for parents and caregivers who want to follow along with their students' work.
National History Day Research at the Library and Beyond
If you would like to improve your project before moving on to state or nationals, you can make an appointment with a librarian. Call the Reference Desk at (608) 789-7122.