By this time of the year, students should be hard at work doing research on their topic for History Day. This might come easier to some students than others though. Not every student has a knack for going to the library or relying on more than just the internet. A student will not be able to google their way through a History Day project. For some students, History Day may even be their first time doing historical research. Here are some other places students can go to conduct research—Connecticut History Day student approved!
If your students are looking to visit an archive, many Connecticut History Day students use the Special Collections and Archives at UConn when looking for information. The UConn archive “actively engages with students and teachers” to aid in History Day research. Students can use the digital repository for sources available online or can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and help. The Connecticut State Library is another great archive to go to research. Many archives are happy to schedule school visits, but they must be pre-booked and can usually accommodate a limited number of students. Along with local archives, students have found success using the online collection at the Library of Congress for everything from written records and diaries to maps and more. Another extremely helpful online resource is the Chronicling America: Historic Newspapers site.
For some students, museums and historical societies may be very useful for their research. Visiting a site that is related to a student’s project can be a very meaningful and educational experience. Oftentimes, talking to a tour guide can help students get extra information on a topic that may not be readily available online or from a book. Staff is there to answer your questions and want to help you! It may be appropriate for the student to interview a member of the staff. Interviews should be pre-scheduled.
Keep in mind that museums and historical societies often have archives and collections. Many even offer discounted or free admission to students who are doing research. Students should remember that primary sources are more than just paper documents, but can include objects, photographs and paintings. If your students want to visit a historical society, they can call ahead and a staff member can pull items for them that may be beneficial before they arrive. Just make sure to check their website for rules and possible fees.
Students, of course, have the opportunity to use and visit different sources for research. If you have a student looking for more research ideas, check out the topic selection guide for this year! Inside you can find topics, for those who haven’t decided on one yet, and possible research locations for more information! Students can also consult the Connecticut History Day Student Guide as well for more help with research.
 Collections, UConn Archives and Special. Archives and Special Collections Services. n.d. http://archives.lib.uconn.edu/Services#History (accessed 12 4, 2017).
Samantha Gorski participated in Connecticut History Day 2009-2012. She graduated from Hartford's Classical Magnet School in 2012 to then attend the University of New Hampshire where she studied English Teaching and worked as a social media manager. While at UNH, she got to work for Snapchat covering the 2016 election and attending the 2016 Democratic Debate. Samantha graduated from University of New Hampshire in 2016and currently works as a Museum Educator at Connecticut's Old State House.