Vermont History Day goes virtual in 2020

REGION – Vermonters can no longer gather in large groups, but that will not stop young history lovers from participating in Vermont History Day, an exciting education program that encourages students to develop research and critical thinking skills through the study of the past.

Coordinated by the Vermont Historical Society, Vermont History Day provides students grades 5 through 12 and home study students ages 10 to 18 the opportunity to share their projects at the annual state contest. Students choose a topic inspired by the National History Day theme and can focus their projects on Vermont, United States, or world history. This year’s theme is “Breaking Barriers in History.” Participating students will create a variety of projects such as exhibits, websites, dramatic performances, documentaries, and historic papers. Through their work, students gain a deeper understanding of how people, cultures, and events affect the course of history.

This year’s event was originally scheduled for Saturday, April 4 at UVM; however, the Vermont Historical Society delayed the contest to allow students and teachers time to work on projects while adapting to distance learning.

Over 200 students from 22 schools and homeschools have chosen to continue their work despite the changes. A panel of 75 judges including local historians, educators, and other professionals is committed to evaluating the projects online. The awards ceremony is scheduled for May 8 at 2 p.m. and will be streamed on the Vermont Historical Society Facebook page.

The top two projects in each division will qualify to compete in the national contest, which will also be virtual this year. Outstanding projects will also win special prizes, which are sponsored by several local organizations.

History Day is made possible by the following sponsors: George W. Mergens Foundation, Peter Swift and Diana McCargo, Johnson Family Foundation Fund, Key Bank, Community National Bank, Northfield Savings Bank, UVM Department of History, Vermont Automobile Enthusiasts, Vermont Mutual Insurance Company, Washington Electric Cooperative Inc., Main Street Landing Company, and Vermont Heating and Ventilating.

The Vermont Historical Society is a nonprofit organization that operates the Vermont History Museum in Montpelier, the Vermont History Center in Barre, and programming throughout the state. Established in 1838, its mission is to reach a broad audience through outstanding collections and statewide outreach. The Vermont Historical Society believes that an understanding of the past changes lives and builds better communities. Visit www.vermonthistory.org.

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