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About Student Research Fieldtrips to the Wisconsin Historical Society

Subject Areas: Research at the WHS is only appropriate for students researching topics in North American history, since resources for world history topics are generally found in other libraries on the UW-Madison campus.

Age Level: Self-directed research at the Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS) is most suitable for students in grades 8-12, although younger students can also benefit from the experience with additional preparation and guidance.

Group Size: An ideal group size is 25 or fewer, but larger groups may be accommodated with sufficient advance notice. Large groups may consider dividing in half and splitting the trip with a museum or the State Capitol.

Chaperones
: We suggest bringing one chaperone per seven students, though older students generally require fewer. Chaperones should be ready to help students find books, use computers or talk to reference staff (all of which are covered in the group's orientation) and must help keep students on task throughout the day.

Fieldtrip Duration: Most research groups come prepared to spend the day with us in order to give students sufficient orientation and research time. Learning how to effectively use the library and archives is an important component to successful student research. Research fieldtrips less than 3.5 hours are discouraged as students will not have sufficient time for orientation and research.

Orientation: Upon arrival at the WHS, a staff member will welcome you in the lobby and lead you to the library reading room on the second floor where your group will be stationed at reserved tables. Most students carry valuables with them and leave coats, bags and other materials on these tables for the day. Depending on group size, we may divide the group for your orientation. Orientation usually lasts 45-60 minutes as students will tour and learn more about the second floor library and fourth floor archives. After the orientation, students are free to work on their own research and staff members will be available to guide students. Researchers can also go on an optional library scavenger hunt that will further help them adjust to library research methods.

Lunch: Lunch facilities are not available at the WHS. Most groups cross the street to the UW Memorial Union or divide into small groups and go to restaurants on nearby State Street.

Drop-Off/Pick-Up Location: Most busses find it convenient to drop off students in front of the UW Memorial Union (800 Langdon Street). The Wisconsin Historical Society is across the street, facing Library Mall.

Parking: Vehicles with a clearance of 6'9” or less should park at the State Street/Campus Ramp, at the corner of State and Lake Streets, a block from the WHS. If you have a larger vehicle, UW-Madison has additional information online.

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