Historians try to
find a variety of sources to help them understand the past,
including primary and secondary sources. Both of these types
of sources are important to a good History Day project and there
are many different places that you can begin looking for them.
a Research Institution in Wisconsin
The first step in your research should be visiting your school
or local library. Librarians and reference staff can help you
to find the resources to need to begin your project. As you
move into more advanced research, you will need to look in places
with more scholarly materials to investigate. Below are links
to just a few of the many research institutions that Wisconsin
History Day students have used in the past. Remember, when planning
research at an archive, define your research goals and contact
the archivist before your visit to make sure that the archive
has the kind of materials you want to see.
Historical Society Library and Archives in Madison
Did you know that one of the top American history libraries
in the world is located right in our own state, at the Wisconsin
Historical Society? If you’re researching an American
or Wisconsin-oriented topic, there’s probably something
for you in the WHS stacks.
of Wisconsin System Libraries
College and university libraries will likely have
more resources than your school or public library. This web
site will link you to the online catalogs for schools in the
UW System. You can try searching for your topic in their online
catalog or you can visit the library in person. Make sure
to talk to librarians and reference staff for help in learning
how to search the catalog and about other subscription services
you may be able to access while on campus.
Directory of Local Historical Societies in Wisconsin
Local historical societies can often offer unique
and fascinating resources for community history topics, but
keep in mind that they vary widely in size, seasonal hours,
and the extent of their collections. Use this directory of
contact information to find out more about local organizations
in your county or region.
- The Chippewa
Valley Museum (Eau Claire)
Check out the Chippewa Valley Museum if you’re researching
a topic related to the logging industry or rural life in Northwest
- The Wisconsin
Maritime Museum (Manitowoc)
The WMM’s archival collections will be valuable for
students researching our state’s maritime history, particularly
early shipbuilding, the lives of Great Lakes sailors, and
WWII-era submarine production.
For students researching military history, the Wisconsin
Veterans Museum and Research Center is a great place to find
a Wisconsin perspective on a national topic. Before you go,
check out their collections online through WISCAT.