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Volunteers needed for Illinois History Day student competition April 24

ILLINOIS, April 3 - Students will present research projects on ‘Turning Points in History' in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD - Illinois History Day, an event that invites students from across Illinois to create history projects such as exhibits, websites, documentaries, performances, and research papers on topics of their choice, will take place April 24 at the Bank of Springfield Center in Springfield.

This statewide program encourages students in grades 6 through 12 to delve into Illinois history and culture by researching primary and secondary source materials. Students advancing from regional competitions are eligible to compete at the state contest. Top winners from the state competition will advance to the National History Day June 9-13 at the University of Maryland.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of National History Day, the 2024 theme is Turning Points in History. This year's theme invites students to consider questions of time and place, cause and effect, change over time, and impact and significance.

"National History Day in Illinois is such an important program for middle and high school learners to gain skills and confidence in the history and humanity fields," said Jenn Edginton, interim director of the Illinois State Museum. "This program aims to inspire the next generation of future historians."

Illinois History Day relies on volunteers to be successful. Volunteers are needed the day of the event to assist with wayfinding, greeting, and tear-down after the competition is complete.

In addition, volunteer judges are needed, both remotely in the week leading up to the competition and on the day of the event for in-person categories and interviews. Volunteer judges do not need a history degree or background, but organizers prefer that those interested in judging are familiar with college-level research methods.

Illinois History Day began in 1947 as a publication titled "Illinois Junior Historian" and later "Illinois History" sponsored at various times by the Illinois State Historical Society, the Illinois State Historical Library, and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. The first history day fair took place in 1963, decades before the emergence of a National History Day.