The History and Public Policy Program (HAPP) at the Woodrow Wilson Center focuses on the relationship between history and policy making and seeks to foster open, informed and non-partisan dialogue on historically relevant issues. The Program is a hub for a wide network of scholars, journalists, policy makers, archivists, and teachers focused on the uses and lessons of history in decision making. Through informed dialogue, the Program seeks to explore the advantages as well as the dangers of using historical lessons in making current policy decisions.

The Program manages, an award-winning research tool with over 10,000 primary source documents; publishes the popular international history blog Sources and Methods and other long-form works; and regularly convenes public events, academic conferences, and graduate student training sessions on historical topics, including the weekly Washington History Seminar series, the Summer Institute on Conducting Archival Research, and the Nuclear History Boot Camp.

The History and Public Policy Program consists of three main research components:


As the Program seeks to enhance understanding of the mindsets, viewpoints, concerns and internal deliberations of US allies and adversaries alike, its research and programmatic activities generally emphasize non-US perspectives on contemporary history. It operates in partnership with governmental and non-governmental institutions and partners in the US and throughout the world to foster openness, transparency, and dialogue.

For more information on the type of materials the Program collects, see our Collection Policy.