Heritage fairs are a popular and effective way to engage a community's youth with history and heritage.
What is often missing from this golden opportunity is a focus on local history and heritage. This missing link is a major focus and mandate of Heritage Manitoba, which aims to ensure that whenever possible local heritage projects and products have youth in mind as a key audience. And given that a heritage fair project is a formal (even required) aspect of the curriculum at many schools, it is an opportunity not to be missed.
Some things to keep in mind in developing projects that may help inform a heritage fair exhibit:
- Many projects focus on people. Think about how to use local information to encourage students to work on a notable local person.
- Many projects focus on major historical themes, like the fur trade, or explorers, but sometimes without a clear connection to certain communities. Think about how you can develop or revise a project to provide some local content or context.
- Some projects focus on notable buildings. Consider if a local building might merit this kind of attention.
- Keep in mind that a heritage fair program is based on key learning concepts, including issues of significance and historical thinking. To those ends, consider these issues in the development of a project that may have value for a local heritage fair initiative.
- Historical Significance
- Why is X (person, event, development) important?
- How is X connected to us today?
- Why should we care about X?
- Cause and Consequence
- Why did X happen?
- How did X make a difference?
- What helped/hindered X from making a difference?
- What would explain X?
- What happened to X?
- How has X changed our lives?
- Ethical Dimension
- How should we remember X?
- How does the context of the time explain X (actions or beliefs)?
- What lessons, if any, can we learn from X?
- Are we condemned to repeat the past?
- Or could we learn something from X?
- There is a great deal of material that has been developed to aid teachers and students in the development of excellent heritage fair projects, and much of this is easily available on-line. Have a look at Heritage Fair Guide in the Resources and Guides section.
Some good links Heritage Manitoba also recommends are:
- Canada's History Link for heritage fairs:
- Historica Canada Link for education:
- British Columbia Link for heritage fairs: