Hey there friend! Today we’re going to talk about some of the fun ways to learn history that aren’t just reading a book… Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE reading a good book, but sometimes I like to switch things up a little bit!
We are going to talk about 5 unconventional resources you can use to learn history without ever cracking open a book. Let’s get started!
1. History Lectures / Public Talks
I love listening to history lectures and public talks. The great thing about attending university and graduate school is the sheer amount of free lectures you can attend. I was able to attend many lectures on different topics and learned something new every time.
Bonus Tip: Always take a notebook with you to public talks and lectures. You can write down the things that you learned or you can draw inspiration from the talk for your own project.
Many universities, libraries, and public institutions have shifted most of their talks to a virtual/digital format. I LOVE this because I have been able to attend talks from across the United States! It is so refreshing to hear new ideas and scholarship from someone I wouldn’t typically have been able to see before. I hope that the virtual format is something that continues in the future!
2. History Videos / TV Shows / Movies
I think that history videos, tv shows, and movies are instrumental tools in beginning the conversation around certain historical topics. Many people will sit down and watch tv after school or work, but many won’t pick up a book. This is why it is important for historical interpretations to be as accurate as possible.
Many streaming services have a history category on their platform!
3. Talking with people who lived through historical events
I am a big fan of oral history and have written about it before on my blog. Here’s the link in case you missed it!
I love talking with people who lived through historical events. Hearing the stories from someone who lived through them adds a special touch to history that you may not necessarily get when you are just reading a book. Representing many perspectives of a lived experience is crucial in telling accurate history!
4. History Podcasts
So, history podcasts have been around for a few years, but I have really only gotten into them within the past year and half. There are so many good shows to listen to out there right now. I have actually had the privilege of being a guest speaker on three shows! They’re linked here, if you’re interested in giving them a listen.
Podcasts are a great way to learn about new topics without having to commit to a 300-400 page book. Most podcasts give you enough information to decide whether or not you want to do research further on a topic. For example, I listened to a great episode about vikings because I had previously done a paper on another viking settlement. I learned something new and it only took 30 minutes.
Bonus Tip: Podcasts are an easy way to digest a lot of history in a short amount of time. I love listening to them when I workout or go for a walk. I have friends who like to listen to them when they drive to work. The point is, there is time to listen to a podcast if you want to!
5. Board Games / Video Games
Board games and video games are another great way to engage with historical subjects. These games often allow you to assume a historical character’s role in the game and you play through the sequence of history. It’s a fun way to interact with the material.
I hope this short list of resources gives you a few new ideas of ways to make history fun and engaging! If you have other ways that you like to make history fun and engaging please leave me a comment at the end of this post! I would love to hear your thoughts!
I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂