National History Day


For middle school and high school students participating in the Wisconsin competitions of National History Day in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Labor History Society annually offers prizes for the best projects that are based on American labor history.  For the 2016-2017 school year, the student project will need to be based on the theme, “Taking a Stand in History.”  

WLHS is pleased to participate in the competitions, led in Wisconsin by the Wisconsin Historical Society, nad to offer two $50 awards at each of the eight Wisconsin REGIONAL events for the best American labor history entries in any of the competition categories; one award will be given at the junior age level (grades 6-8) and one award at the senior age level (grades 9-12).  Two $100 awards are offered for both the junior and senior levels at the Wisconsin History Day STATE finals.

Click here  for information about the National History Day in Wisconsin program.


The exhibits for 2016-17 must fit the theme of “Taking a Stand in History.” Students are encouraged to use creativity to fashion exhibits that portray an individual or group that take a firm position to create change for the better and put themselves or the group at risk. Labor history offers plenty of examples of workers and unions taking a firm and courageous stand.  fSome topics could include:

  • The Bay View Tragedy of 1886 in Milwaukee that involved workers risking their jobs and lives to fight for the 8-hour work day.
  • The collaboration of urban Socialists of the labor movement and rural, smalltown Progressives that established Wisconsin’s progressive reforms. Locate the leaders of that collaboration and outline their successes.
  • Victor Berger, Socialist who went to jail for his beliefs and helped create Milwaukee’s good government traditions with labor’s support. Show illustrations of his accomplishments; demonstrate his struggle
  • Arnold Zander the state worker who founded AFSCME, the nation’s largest public employee union, in Madison when he mobilized state employees to protect the state civil service system.
  • The farm worker struggle of the 1960s when migrant workers marched from Wautoma to Madison to seek — and get — a migrant worker labor law.

For more help to develop your projects, go to

TYPES OF PROJECTS: Students may enter in one of nine categories:

Papers (individual only), individual exhibit, group exhibit, individual performance, group performance, individual documentary, group documentary, individual web site, and group web site.