45 Historic Pics And Artefacts That Might Make You See Things In A New Light
In a world that's constantly moving forward, there's something undeniably mesmerizing about taking a step back in time, if only for a moment. It's like peering through a portal into the annals of history, where sepia-toned memories and black-and-white narratives come to life. And where do you find this enchanting time machine, you ask? Look no further than the X page, "World Of History”.
With a following that has surged beyond 603 thousand history enthusiasts, this digital curator of the past is your passport to an older era. Created in 2022, it's a relatively recent addition to the digital realm, but it's made a mark with its daily doses of historical photos and videos.
So, buckle up (or put on your virtual time-traveling goggles) as we explore these captivating photos. Keep reading to discover an exclusive interview with Laura Aitken-Burt, a historian and archaeologist based in London. She shares her insights on the significance of learning history, how it deepens our understanding of the past, present, and future, and much more!
Laura Aitken-Burt is a published author of the DK Definitive Guide to Ancient Rome and the Harper Collins Knowing World History series. She is currently running the @athenasocietyofficial project to share student research on the hidden histories of women through time to promote gender equality education in schools.
So, without further ado, let's dive into the significance of history education. We asked Aitken-Burt why she believes it is important for people to learn about history, and what benefits it offers to individuals and society as a whole. According to the historian, it is crucial for people to learn about history because it is the story of humanity, in all its good and bad forms. “For us to understand our present moment and move forward positively into the future, it is important to reflect on how we got here. Those with historical training are able to critically analyze the world around them, formulate arguments based on evidence, and debate persuasively and coherently. It also allows you to keep an open mind to new source material and perspectives.” Aitken-Burt explained that these skills hold significance not just in any occupation but also in our broader responsibilities as community members. It's essential to recognize that progress doesn't always follow a straightforward path, and we should remain attentive to this fact. “Not only this, history as a discipline is also just really interesting and full of fascinating stories that can resonate with us today – we all have a curiosity about the thoughts, feelings, living conditions, and events that our ancestors lived through,” she added.
Have you ever come across stories from the past that you find really interesting or useful for people today? As we reflect on the past, we often discover remarkable events and figures whose lessons and inspirations can be applied to our modern lives. For Aitken-Burt, there are too many to choose from! “I’m particularly interested in the evolution of myths and the ways in which stories are told through time, specifically the ways in which the classical past was used to legitimize modern empire-building. I’m also interested in uncovering ‘hidden histories’, or rather histories that have been deliberately obscured and/or ignored for a long time in archives and source material such as the stories of women, the working class, the enslaved, and LGBTQ+ communities.”
Talking about inspiring figures, Aitken-Burt highlighted Christine de Pizan as a particularly intriguing figure. “She was one of the first women in Europe to write and publish a book in the early 15th century. Her Book of the City of Ladies criticized the erasure of positive female stories in history from the archives – something which is still important today over 600 years later!”
In today's digital age, social media platforms have become powerful tools for education, connecting people across the globe with a wealth of information and ideas. The “World of History” page has emerged as a unique space for exploring the past in bite-sized, accessible formats. But how do these social media platforms contribute to history education and what should we think about when using them to learn? “We now live in a world where images, videos and photography dominate the media we consume. I think social media can help to inspire interest in historical sites and objects and can potentially encourage people to seek further information,” Aitken-Burt shared. However, there are some concerns that need to be taken into consideration – “many websites are unreliable and the use of algorithms to push certain content towards you can be problematic, particularly if you are unaware of how to analyze such content and just take the information at face value. This can quickly lead to emotional reactions that are devoid of any real historical nuance or understanding.
The rise of AI-generated images will cause increased skepticism. Whilst doctored and staged photos are nothing new, the increased realism of these potentially beyond the control of the initial user is a cause for concern.”
According to Aitken-Burt, referencing has always been key in historical studies. The ability to comprehend the content, nature, origin and purpose of any source material is fundamental for a historian. “Provenance is everything,” she explained. “When trying to learn further information about historical periods, stick to museum websites, clips from well-researched documentaries and, of course, published books. Remember that any interpretation of history will use different sources, emphasis and tone which will affect the message you receive. Historians will always be trying to think of additional or omitted source material from an argument, any perspectives that are being overlooked and the style of language being used.”
If you're someone who enjoys uncovering the mysteries of the past and wants to cultivate a lasting passion for history, Aitken-Burt shared the best ways to do that: “Visit museums and archaeological/heritage sites, watch reputable documentaries and read books! Even if people don’t consider themselves ‘a reader’, historical stories are really fascinating and there are plenty of history books with engaging narratives or excellent photography of sites and objects to inspire further interest.”