The Illinois History Fair,
sponsored by the
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, is an annual statewide competition that gives
junior high (6th-8th) and senior high school (9th-12th) students
an opportunity to win awards and scholarships through various
history-related projects pertaining to Illinois.
Students may work on an individual or group basis and can
present their research findings in a variety of formats
including the following:
essays and research papers
media presentations (video,
There are several levels of History
Local History Fairs. Over
22,000 students are involved in local fairs, held at
participating schools around the state. Although focused on
Illinois history, projects are developed as part of social
studies, history, english, or special enrichment programs.
Regional History Fairs
Outstanding local projects advance to one of five regional fairs
that are held in the early spring at college campuses throughout
Illinois History Exposition.
This annual statewide competition features approximately 1100
projects and papers judged to be superior at the regional fairs
and is held in Springfield each May.
National History Day
Held at the University of Maryland in June. Only 28 projects
from the Illinois Expo are selected to represent Illinois at
this prestigious competition.
If you are new to the History Fair,
and would like more information about how to participate:
Chicago Metro History Education
(if you live in Cook, DuPage, or Lake County)
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency - Office of Educational
(for all other counties)
The following publications are
available from IHPA:
Three issues per year feature a specific topic in each issue,
and students write the articles. One free issue of each volume
is available to teachers using the publication in their
classroom. All other subscribers pay $6 for the three issues.
Illinois History Teacher
One copy is sent to each history and social studies teacher in
Illinois. Contents include teacher readings and related
Illinois History Fairs: Learning from Illinois' Past
This 11-minute video that introduces teachers and students to
the Illinois History Fair is available free of charge. A
representative from our office would be glad to visit your
classroom if you desire.
Teacher to Teacher
A short (5:26) video program features a conversation with an
award-winning high school teacher who examines the many positive
aspects of Illinois History Fairs.
How to create a top exhibit
A 33-slide audio-video presentation is available detailing the
qualities and techniques that make an award-winning exhibit.
This presentation is a must for teachers who want to improve the
quality of their student's exhibit but may not know where to
Exploring Illinois History
This video will help your students learn how to select a good
history fair topic. Students and teachers will examine the most
effective way to choose and research a subject and conversely
the areas to avoid when starting on an Illinois history fair