Recently a high school student, Patrick Calvert, asked to meet with a colleague and me to find out how to move forward with a career in history and museums. Patrick came armed with the typical questions about what courses to study, typical day at work, and general salary info. Right out of the gates he showed he was very interested in a future of protecting, investigating, and promoting history. Naturally, among the many recommendations we made, I suggested he put in some volunteer time and write. He jumped at the idea of writing a blog post so I asked him to expand on why, in this day of immediate change and fast-paced technological development, why would he want to pursue a career in history.
Here are Patrick’s thoughts:
At a time when breaking news travels on Twitter within seconds, the relevance of historical awareness, preservation, and promotion is on a slippery slope. As a high school senior, aspiring to contribute to the history field is a daunting yet invigorating task. Making comparisons between the present-day and the olden days is what attracts me to historical studies and inspires me to dig deeper and deeper into the past.
The disconnection between the present generation and many generations prior is alarming and can even damage today’s society in various ways. Many citizens live in historically rich communities and don’t even realize it. This threatens historically important infrastructure that is on the verge of being torn down. This has become a problem with many downtown areas in many cities, including my hometown, and leads to a non-genuine downtown atmosphere. The detachment of the past associated with the present has also led individuals and organizations to make unsatisfactory decisions in the social, political, and economic sectors.
History is vital in understanding why the world is like it is today. Countless individuals base opinions and ideas solely on present information and not historical fact. This leads to misinformation of historical and present day topics; with many different venues of communication (social media, television, mobile phones, etc.) false information can be rapidly spread to a large audience. This contributes to the disconnection of present generations as well as prior generations.
The importance of historical understanding inspires me to involve my life in the subject in one way or another. Enlightening people and explaining events of the past in an unbiased way is important in present developments and I feel like it is my duty to provide that to the public. Through these actions a ripple effect can happen which can help people become more aware of the historic gems in their community as well as a better understanding of why the world is like it is today.