Chicago Metro History Day
The mission of Chicago Metro History Day is to spark students’ interest in the study of history, help them build high-level thinking skills, engage them in civic life, and foster their intellectual self-confidence. In discovering the past, they also come to better understand the present, and plan for the future.
CMHD students not only become historians, they also become better citizens. In conducting research, they go into the community to visit libraries, historical sites and cultural institutions, and interview people who are experts or participants in a historic event. In studying the history of their community, students learn how decisions made and actions taken in the social, cultural, economic, and political realms affect their lives.
Chicago Metro History Day works with teachers and students in middle grades and high school classrooms to “Make History!” Public and private schools in Cook, Lake, and DuPage county participate in CMHD. Annual competitions are held in which students present their projects to the public. After spending months of researching and developing their projects, students produce exhibits, documentaries, performances, papers and websites which are presented in a series of contests. More than 500 adults volunteer each spring to serve as judges at History Day competitions. Students may advance from their school fairs to regional, finals, statewide, and national contests. CMHD affiliates with Illinois History Day and National History Day.
See our list of participating schools.
Students that attend schools which do not offer Chicago Metro History Day are still eligible to participate in the program, as well as home schooled students. In order to participate as an Independent Scholar, submit this form.
Chicago Metro History Day needs you! Each year, CMHD relies on volunteer judges to assess student projects! As a judge, you will evaluate historical research documentaries, performances, exhibits, websites, or papers on a wide range of historical topics produced by local students in grades 6-8 or 9-12.
No experience is or special degree is necessary; new judges will be trained and paired with a veteran judge. Judging is a stimulating experience as you also learn more about history through the eyes of young people throughout Chicagoland.
Chicago Metro History Day, a program of the Chicago History Museum, is made possible by participating History Day schools and the generosity of area organizations and individual donors.
We gratefully acknowledge support provided by Busey Bank, HBK Engineering, the Minow Family Foundation in honor of Josephine Baskin Minow, and the University of Illinois Chicago.
Additional programmatic support is provided by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program, the Black Metropolis Research Consortium, the Latin School of Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University Libraries, and our many prize sponsors.
Chicago Metro History Day is a regional affiliate of National History Day.
Special Prize Sponsorship
Special prize sponsors help History Day recognize students for exceptional research and historical analysis. In past years, we have awarded prizes recognizing areas of study such as LGBTQ+ history, Latinx Chicago history, African American history, Jewish history, architectural history, labor history, and more. Other prizes recognize students for going above and beyond in local Chicago history, neighborhood-specific history, and suburban history, or for use of specific research collections.
These awards are sponsored by organizations and individuals who want to support students and their academic achievements, celebrate research in a particular area of history, and connect young students of history with lifelong history lovers. Supporters may pledge to sponsor a prize in a particular area of history that is important to you, or you may contribute awards to be used for any project deserving of recognition.
Help spark curiosity!
Support from donors makes it possible for Chicago Metro History Day to reach more than 10,000 students annually from numerous schools in the Chicagoland area. Help us spark students’ curiosity and a lifelong love of history through this wonderful program. Consider making a gift today.