Historical sites – yawn or yay?

Now I’m sure if you cast your minds back to your school days, some of you will remember your history classes with either fondness…or you just don’t remember them at all because they were so boring and uninspiring. I myself was in the former crowd. I had a wonderful history teacher called Mr Reid who showed a tremendous passion for history. He would always be asking the class branching questions about why a particular moment in history happened, how this came about and what were the later consequences of those events. I would always be the one eagerly putting my hand up to show off my knowledge. I wanted to be the swot in the class.

At least that’s how wanted to remember it.

In reality, I probably didn’t have all the answers – what student does? What I do remember and still resonates with me to this day is that Mr Reid’s passion and enthusiasm for history made a big impression on me, and when I always travel to some place, local or faraway, the first thing I think about is its history; how it came about; when it came about; why; its impact. Sadly I never took my study of history any further than secondary school education – perhaps things could have turned out differently for me if I did. But what has never left me was an unwavering passion for history, which Mr Reid played a part in nurturing.

So now you all know about how my passion came about, I suppose we’d better get back on track. Why is it important to visit historical sites? Well there are many reasons why I go to these sites. Let’s take a look at some of them:

Historical sites are precious assets

Historical sites add to cultural identity, and also contributes to an area or country’s sense of place in the world. Of course, from an economical point of view, visiting historical sites also help to contribute to the local economy. If you pay an admission fee, or eat at the site’s café, you are contributing to the preservation of that site for future generations to come and enjoy – not to mention the jobs that could be created. Nevertheless, by visiting historical sites, you are ensuring that these assets are being kept as they are – precious.

Historical sites make you aware of humankind’s accomplishments…or failures

I remember when I first visited Salisbury Cathedral. Every time I looked at the spire, and studied those majestic gothic arches inside, I was taken back at how that kind of structure was built 800 years before with no modern tools or machinery. Equally, when I visited the Roman ruins of Carthage in modern-day Tunisia….I couldn’t help but think what would things be like now if this great empire survived the Battle of Carthage.

Historical sites can help you see the bigger picture

A lot of us are privileged to live the lives we are living today. Some of us live in our own bubble where we’re just worried only about ourselves and our own problems, and this can be a lonely experience. By going to historical sites such as George Stephenson’s childhood home where he shared one room with his whole family puts into perspective that life never remains the same, and with a bit of grit and determination great things can come to you.

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History is brought to life

It’s all very well reading texts and TV shows about the massacre of Oradour-sur-Glane in France. But visiting the actual site where this terrible event happened brings a sense of realism that no textbook or TV programme can; it helps you connect with the area and with the people involved. Visiting an historical site makes learning about history interactive.

Historical sites make you happy

That’s right, visiting historic sites make you happy. Well certainly in England it does. A 2014 report by Historic England found that visiting historic towns and buildings had the greatest impact on wellbeing and a positive relationship with life satisfaction. The research went further to translate this into a monetary value, stating that visiting a historic site would enhance a person’s wellbeing to the equivalent of at least £847. So not only do you get to learn some history; you also get richer in the process!

So these are my 5 reasons to visit historical sites. I’m sure some of you out there have yours – what are they?

Historical sites – yawn or yay?

Now I’m sure if you cast your minds back to your school days, some of you will remember your history classes with either fondness…or you just don’t remember them at all because they were so boring and uninspiring. I myself was in the former crowd. I had a wonderful history teacher called Mr Reid who showed a tremendous passion for history. He would always be asking the class branching questions about why a particular moment in history happened, how this came about and what were the later consequences of those events. I would always be the one eagerly putting my hand up to show off my knowledge. I wanted to be the swot in the class.

At least that’s how wanted to remember it.

In reality, I probably didn’t have all the answers – what student does? What I do remember and still resonates with me to this day is that Mr Reid’s passion and enthusiasm for history made a big impression on me, and when I always travel to some place, local or faraway, the first thing I think about is its history; how it came about; when it came about; why; its impact. Sadly I never took my study of history any further than secondary school education – perhaps things could have turned out differently for me if I did. But what has never left me was an unwavering passion for history, which Mr Reid played a part in nurturing.

So now you all know about how my passion came about, I suppose we’d better get back on track. Why is it important to visit historical sites? Well there are many reasons why I go to these sites. Let’s take a look at some of them:

Historical sites are precious assets

Historical sites add to cultural identity, and also contributes to an area or country’s sense of place in the world. Of course, from an economical point of view, visiting historical sites also help to contribute to the local economy. If you pay an admission fee, or eat at the site’s café, you are contributing to the preservation of that site for future generations to come and enjoy – not to mention the jobs that could be created. Nevertheless, by visiting historical sites, you are ensuring that these assets are being kept as they are – precious.

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Historical sites make you aware of humankind’s accomplishments…or failures

I remember when I first visited Salisbury Cathedral. Every time I looked at the spire, and studied those majestic gothic arches inside, I was taken back at how that kind of structure was built 800 years before with no modern tools or machinery. Equally, when I visited the Roman ruins of Carthage in modern-day Tunisia….I couldn’t help but think what would things be like now if this great empire survived the Battle of Carthage.

Historical sites can help you see the bigger picture

A lot of us are privileged to live the lives we are living today. Some of us live in our own bubble where we’re just worried only about ourselves and our own problems, and this can be a lonely experience. By going to historical sites such as George Stephenson’s childhood home where he shared one room with his whole family puts into perspective that life never remains the same, and with a bit of grit and determination great things can come to you.

History is brought to life

It’s all very well reading texts and TV shows about the massacre of Oradour-sur-Glane in France. But visiting the actual site where this terrible event happened brings a sense of realism that no textbook or TV programme can; it helps you connect with the area and with the people involved. Visiting an historical site makes learning about history interactive.

Historical sites make you happy

That’s right, visiting historic sites make you happy. Well certainly in England it does. A 2014 report by Historic England found that visiting historic towns and buildings had the greatest impact on wellbeing and a positive relationship with life satisfaction. The research went further to translate this into a monetary value, stating that visiting a historic site would enhance a person’s wellbeing to the equivalent of at least £847. So not only do you get to learn some history; you also get richer in the process!

So these are my 5 reasons to visit historical sites. I’m sure some of you out there have yours – what are they?

Five Reasons Why You Should Be Taking Your Children to Historical Sites

I think it is valuable to show children where battles were fought.

Gettysburg’s field of battle was only 4 acres in size. Over 7,800 soldiers died. Those are just numbers. But standing on the field and realizing how small that was, how gruesome the sight would be… If you can check out a reenactment, it would be even better. Make a famous site 3D in a child’s mind, and they will never forget it.

Not that travel is the end all in historical learning. But if you take travel and couple it with other outlets, it can be powerful. Imagine seeing the movie (or air show reenactment) of Torah! Torah! Torah!, reading a first-person source account of the morning of the Japanese attack, and then standing in Pearl Harbor. Now that is learning! A one-page dry accounting of the battle that brought the US into World War II in a history book just doesn’t cut it.

2. Historical Travel Can Help Children Understand Hard Concepts

I hope to give my children a more realistic vision of history than I had growing up. I know my vision of pre-Civil War America was very skewed, because of the southern doctrine I was fed and because of the limitations of the written word.

Intolerance is learned, it isn’t something they are born with – and I say this because studies support it as well as my personal experience with my children. If you raise them without prejudice, they don’t have it. So when they encounter slavery when reading Mark Twain, it can be confusing. Slavery is a very tough topic for children to understand.

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I struggled to teach Claire about the Civil War, slavery, and the Abolitionists. Then we took a trip to Barrington Farm next to Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park. There is a lovely, large clean home that the Lamar family lived in. It is full of light, airy, and their clothing was elaborate and nice. Then we went to the slave quarters. They were dark, tiny, the clothing was tattered, and it was immediately clear to Claire the difference in the quality of life. Add that to the first-hand knowledge she has about how prickly cotton bolls from her Grandparents’ farm and how hard it would be to pick cotton all day, and I feel like she has as clear a picture of the political climate of the times and the reasons for the Civil War as a 6-year-old can.

3. Historical Travel Can Build Upon Your Previous Travels.

This is a picture of my children at Washington-On-The-Brazos. For the non-Texas reader, this is where Texas became a nation. Formerly part of Mexico, the Texians (as they were called at the time), debated and agreed upon a Declaration of Independence – even as the Alamo was under siege. The children had been to the Alamo a few months before, and it brought the experience full circle. They could imagine how packed the room was, the gravity of the situation, and how important the decisions made were. Exciting!

4. Historical Travel Can Help Children Grasp the Accomplishments of Man

Montezuma

Checking out cliff dwellings in Arizona over 700 years older than our home can help understand another hard topic – the advancement of mankind. My kids are so young, they don’t know what a CD or a VHS is. They have always had the internet, and I remember Claire asking me when she was two to go to “Unicorn.com” because she wanted to see a picture of a unicorn and she understood the naming structure of URLs. Taking that type of kid to a cliff dwelling is far better than trying to explain that there was a time that people lived in houses without A/C. Minds blown!

5. Historical Travel Can Help Children See the Bigger Picture

My kids are little, and their problems are little. They are privileged enough to live in a happy home with attentive parents. Situations that constitute massive dramatic events are trivial in nature.

Seeing that Abraham Lincoln lived in a tiny one-room cabin, worked hard and became such an important figure in history helps put things in perspective. Checking out the Wupatki ruins and understanding that their whole lives were wiped out by a volcano can make not meeting Ariel at Disneyland seems like a ridiculous thing to worry about. It also showed tenacity, where a people flourished even though the desert provided them nothing but hardship.

Hopefully, you see the importance of historical travel with children. Nature is great to connect with, and amusement parks sure can be fun. But, because historical travel can help your kids understand so much about human nature, it is invaluable to helping them build their worldview.

Source https://travelsthruhistory.net/reasons-to-visit-historical-sites/

Source https://travelsthruhistory.net/reasons-to-visit-historical-sites/#:~:text=Historical%20sites%20add%20to%20cultural%20identity,%20and%20also,also%20help%20to%20contribute%20to%20the%20local%20economy.

Source https://everything-everywhere.com/five-reasons-why-you-should-be-taking-your-children-to-historical-sites/

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