|Who We Are|
The Chicago Metro History Fair inspires students’ interest in history and works to improve history education in middle grades and high school classrooms in Chicago and suburban Cook, Lake, Kane, and DuPage counties.
CMHF works with teachers and students to "Make History." CMHF holds an annual competition in which students present their own historical research projects on topics related to Chicago and Illinois. (Watch this video to learn more about the impact of History Fair on students.) Each year, thousands of students and hundreds of teachers from public and private schools participate in History Fair at the school, regional, state, and national levels. Students spend two to eight months working doing research and communicating their historical interpretations to the public through research papers, exhibits, documentaries, performances, and websites. More than 500 people volunteer each spring to serve as judges at History Fair competitions.
Participation in History Fair helps students improve their reading, writing, thinking, and presentation skills as they learn history. Students confront questions of significance, credibility, multiple perspectives, change over time, context, and impact. They learn how to research for and analyze authentic primary and quality secondary sources and how to build an argument based on evidence. Through the process, they also learn self-management, communication, and problem-solving skills. History Fair methods meet most Common Core goals in History and in Reading and Writing. CMHF also offers programs throughout the year for teachers and students that support project-based, inquiry methods of learning history.
Through History Fair, students not only become historians; they also become better citizens. In conducting research, they extend the walls of the classroom into the community by visiting historical and cultural institutions, sites, and interviewing people who are experts or participants in a historic event. In studying the history of their community, they learn how decisions are made in the social, cultural, economic, and political realms that affect their lives.
Since its founding in 1977, the CMHF has earned a nationwide reputation for leadership in the field of 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 numerous area cultural and historical institutions, foundations, and corporations.