History Day

Learn how the Libraries help History Day students connect to librarians and resources for their projects. 

About History Day

The History Day program involves students doing in-depth research on a historical topic relating to a theme, and creating a project in one of five formats. Like a science fair project, they enter competitions at school, regional, state, and national levels.

Everyone is welcome at Wilson Library, including middle and high school students and teachers working on History Day projects. Students can come to research individually, classes can visit on a field trip, and students can come to the annual Gopherbaloo research day. 

Wilson Library has been helping History Day students since the early 1990s. We have a strong partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society, Minitex, and the College of Liberal Arts that allows students access to the University of Minnesota’s rich and extensive collection.

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Field trips

Wilson Library welcomes school groups of 6th-12th grade students for research visits during most of the academic year. Students can research using books and the University's electronic databases while they are on campus. Undergraduate and graduate student research guides will help students during their visits. Learn how to find books, articles, and primary sources for History Day at Wilson Library.


  • Visits are limited to 70 students at a time. Larger groups must be broken up into separate visits.
  • During a field trip you remain responsible for the students, including behavior and group management. We recommend a staff to student ratio of no less than:
    • 1 to 10 students for ages 9 to 14, or
    • 1 to 12 for ages 15 and older.
  • There will be staff available to help your students. Please note that staff will only be available for the first 2 hours of your visit, starting from your pre-scheduled arrival time. You are welcome to stay longer.
  • It is helpful for the students to come prepared with 3-5 call numbers of Wilson Library materials so they can get right to work. This worksheet is a good way to help your students organize their research. 
  • Students can use Library computers to access journal articles and scan book excerpts for later use. Students cannot access journal articles on their own devices. To access articles outside of Wilson Library they will need to save them to a flash drive, email them to themselves, or upload them to a cloud storage account.

Schedule a field trip

  1. Check the History Day Field Trip calendar to see available dates and times. Click on an event to see the end time. Field trips cannot overlap.
  2. Fill out the field trip request form. You will receive an email confirming your field trip.

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Get a class visit from a librarian

If you are planning a field trip to Wilson Library, a Minitex librarian can prepare students by showing them how to search for resources using the University Libraries online catalog, and how to locate books in the library.

It is recommended that students have 3 to 5 books or items to seek out at Wilson Library before their field trip. This worksheet is a good way to help your students organize their research.

You can schedule a class visit at the same time as your field trip, using the field trip request form. 

If you can't come on a field trip, a Minitex librarian can visit with your class virtually in order to prepare them for History Day research they can do at school or at home. A Minitex librarian can introduce appropriate online resources, help identify effective search strategies, and discuss interlibrary loan options for students and schools. A librarian will lead students through hands-on activities using real-time examples showing students how to use the eLibraryMN.org to identify appropriate library resources to use for History Day research.

Complete the instruction request form to connect with a Minitex librarian.

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Individual visits

Students can use books and other printed sources while at Wilson Library or other University of Minnesota Libraries. You can also access online materials that are only available through the University Libraries' computers. Learn how to find books, articles, and primary sources for History Day at Wilson Library

Wilson Library hours, directions, parking, and accessibility information, stop at an information desk and say that you are a History Day student and ask for a History Day guest computer pass.

To use the Archives and Special Collections in person you must make an appointment. Some materials are digitized, but many are not. 

Copies, scanning, and printing

Machines are located on the basement level and the first floor.

For physical materials we recommend scanning and sending to your email address or saving to a flash drive.

Copying and printing are $0.10 per page and color prints and copies are $0.50 per page. They require the one-time purchase of a GopherGold card for $1.00. Ask at an information desk for help.

Saving resources

When using the online resources it is important to save any articles or files you want to use later.

We recommend either saving them to a flash drive or to an online cloud storage account like Google Drive.

They can also be downloaded to the computer and emailed to a personal account. Do not email the links. They can not be opened from any other computer.

Checking out materials

Materials cannot be checked out during visits unless you are with someone who is a current University of Minnesota student, faculty, staff, or is a member of the Friends of the Library.

If you find something you want to look at again, you can talk to your teacher or school librarian about doing an interlibrary loan through MNLINK.

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Gopherbaloo is one of the many research open houses, known as History Day Hullabaloos, that take place all around Minnesota in December and January. Since it takes place at Wilson Library on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus, home of Goldy Gopher, it is known as Gopherbaloo! It is open to anyone, and students can arrive and leave at any point.

Gopherbaloo 2024 is on Saturday, January 13th from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

At Gopherbaloo you can:

  • get one-on-one help from a History Day staff member or undergraduate mentor,
  • view sample projects,
  • conduct primary and secondary research with the guidance of library staff, and
  • use resources only available on a University Library computer.

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Contact us

Contact University Libraries History Day staff for questions or more information.

Phil Dudas

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