Chicago Metro History Fair Exhibit Rules PDF Print E-mail

A History Fair exhibit is like a room in a museum-not a report on a display board with pictures. It relies on clear, succinct text (labels) and a substantial amount of visual evidence to communicate the student's research and analysis.

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Download the NEW Exhibit Rule Book


Exhibit Guidelines

See "Communicating Your Story" on the MAKING HISTORY page for further guidance.

  • Exhibits should use evidence such as pictures, photographs, maps, political cartoons and when appropriate, add visual aides such as graphs.

  • The "labels approach" treats the project like a museum exhibit. The labels function to support the argument which the primary and secondary sources illustrate. They are 50-75 words (book-ended by larger introductions and conclusions). Captions are brief and identify particular sources. Some students take a "captions approach", and write an explanatory caption for each source. Either method is acceptable-the result of a fully developed and logical narrative is the most important factor.  Consider using no more or less than 750-1,000 words.

  • Exhibits should have a logical flow: people reading the display should know where to begin and end, and in what order they should read the text and view the evidence. Use of clearly defined headings and subheadings to guide the reader is highly encouraged.

  • Timelines help sequence events but have limited effectiveness for conveying knowledge and analysis. While they are helpful to students during the research phase, timelines are not required as a component of the exhibit.

Exhibits are evaluated by the display, the Summary Statement form, and annotated bibliography. Supplemental models, artifacts, binders, or electronic devices do not influence the evaluation's score. (However, if they are an integral part of the exhibit, properly explained then they may be part of the school. Audio or visual components should not be more than two minutes long.) CMHEC cannot be held responsible for any material left with an exhibit.


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