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University of Iowa News Release


March 8, 2007

Old Capitol Museum To Host National History Day Competition March 16

On Friday, March 16, the Old Capitol Museum at the University of Iowa will host a regional National History Day (NHD) Competition, a program that promotes history exploration in middle and high schools.

The 2007 competition will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Old Capitol Museum and nearby Macbride Hall on the UI campus. Participating students from schools in the area served by the Grant Wood Area Education Agency have created exhibits, documentaries, performances, and research papers based on topics related to the 2007 competition theme, "Triumph and Tragedy in History." This is the first time UI will host the NHD competition.

The public is invited to watch documentaries and performances at Macbride Hall. Student exhibits, displayed throughout the Old Capitol Museum, will be closed to the public during judging, but can be viewed once judging finishes around noon. Students will talk to judges about their research papers, however this discussion is closed to the public.

"This year's NHD theme, 'Triumph and Tragedy in History,' provides students with the opportunity to employ a great deal of analytical rigor to the subject, challenging them to look at a single topic and find a relationship between two seemingly contradictory elements, according to Naomi Peuse of the State Historical Society of Iowa.

As the state coordinator of NHD in Iowa, Peuse promotes the program to teachers around the state to enhance the teaching and learning of history through various teacher and student workshops, helping the students have a positive experience with the research and presentation of history. 

"I feel passionate about the NHD program because I have seen students present profound statements about our history and what it means to them. I hope that people in the Iowa City area will consider attending the events at the Old Capitol Museum so that they can be astounded by the work of our young historians and celebrate their discoveries," Peuse said.

The NHD competition helps develop participants' ability to: complete in-depth research; critically analyze and develop conclusions about the information they have discovered form a variety of sources; and present and defend their interpretations in a critical, yet creative, forum.

"Students are doing really extraordinary things, uncovering little known stories in their own family history and bringing the past to life by talking to those who lived it. They are exploring archival materials that have something to say about the past and grappling with what they mean and how that has an impact on their own life," Peuse said.

Students compete at state and national levels of NHD. While Iowa's program is not the largest, Peuse says it does have a strong reputation for outstanding student scholarship.

For more information on the competition, visit:

The Old Capitol is Iowa's first capitol, the University's first building, and a National Historic Landmark. The purpose of the Old Capitol Museum is to preserve a distinguished building that serves as a cultural and political center for the State of Iowa by educating university, local, and national communities on the continuing significance of the humanities, especially Iowa history. Public outreach initiatives, educational programming, exhibitions, and academic research help accomplish these aims.

SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: George McCrory 319-384-0012,; Program: Elisa Ewing, education and outreach coordinator, Old Capitol Museum, 319-335-3591,; Writer: Sam Ites