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8 Ways to Keep History Relevant

by Eliza Newland, Collections and Program Manager, Royce J. and Caroline B. Watts Museum on

We have all talked about it.

Children are not learning enough about history in schools. Leaders rarely look at history to make informed decisions. With the growing concentration on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), there is an equally growing weariness that history is too often pushed to the side. Where will our children learn about where they come from, about diversity and empathy?

HRC History Relevance Campaing LogoAs emerging history professionals, history is central to our lives. It is our work and our passion, and it ought to play a greater role in the lives of our communities and nation.

We have all talked about this issue. So, why not start doing something about it?

Thankfully, there is a group of people who are and you can join them. The History Relevance Campaign (HRC) is a grassroots movement made up of individuals working to make history a necessity. At the center of the HRC is the Value of History statement, a list of seven ways that history is essential to ourselves, to our communities, and to our future.

8 Ways to Help Keep History Relevant:

  1. Read the Value of History statement and use it to inform your own understanding of history’s relevance.
  2. Take a leadership role and seek formal endorsement of the Value of History statement by your organization. If you are a student, talk to the chair of your department about the statement. If you are a young professional, an intern, or a volunteer, talk to your supervisor.
  3. Commit to incorporating the Values into your work. Talk about them when strategic planning for your organization. Include them in your teaching statement.
  4. Spread the word. Start conversations with friends, colleagues, neighbors, or fellow students about the value of history and share insight. Talk about the Values in a class that you’re teaching or in a graduate student meeting.
  5. Share your story. Talk about how you incorporating the Values into your work. Send out social media messages about the importance and relevance of history.
  6. Continue the conversation on LinkedIn by joining the HRC group.
  7. Really motivated by the thought of making history more relevant? Contribute your time and talents to an HRC task force. They are always looking for help and there are multiple task forces that you can join based on your interests: Marketing, K-20 Education, Impact Project, and more. Learn more about how you can get involved.  
  8. Follow the History Relevance Campaign (@historycampaign) on Twitter.

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