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Washington History Day Topic Guide
/ Washington State Library / Washington State Archives
You can make history live!
When was this photo made?
What was the Washington State Normal School?
What did these people do after they graduated?
What does the Washington State Normal School have to do with Central Washington University?
History Day is a contest for students that encourages the use of primary sources to get an up-close and personal view of an historical event. More than finding a summary in an encyclopedia or locating some pictures on the web, primary sources work to illustrate your topic from a first person point of view. And while you can find primary sources online, the real thrill of historical research comes from holding actual documents from that time in your hands! By doing your own research, asking and answering key historical questions you can become an expert on a topic and tell its story through a History Day project.
The phrase “it isn’t just a day…it’s an experience” defines History Day. You become the historian! Extend the walls of the classroom into archives, college libraries and manuscripts collections, museums and other places that hold the information that you will need to interpret your topic. Learn more about your own family and community history, or some other topic that really matters to you.
Use this online Topic Guide to search for subjects within Pacific Northwest history that are of interest to you and locate primary source documents on those topics in nearby archives or libraries. You can browse for subjects in the following ways:
Look at general topics in PNW History and then find specific issues you can investigate further
Find specific topics broken down by era (examples: 1800s, 1940s)
You'll also want to make sure that any topic you select really reflects this year's theme.Use this method if you want to find out what collections are available at a specific archives or library
Remember: time spent using the primary and secondary research sources in these collections will be rewarded by the firsthand experience of historical discovery and reflected in the historical quality that judges will be looking for in your history day project.
Questions? Try asking around on our Discussion Forum or you can Ask a Librarian at the Washington State Library.
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