What is a Historian?

After several weeks of this unit, we are now wrapping up the unit on generations, and what it’s like to be a historian. We all know what a historian is, but do we know the real detail about one? A historian is, of course, someone who studies about history, but there is so much more than that. First of all, there are so many types of history that a historian can study. Some historians might only like certain types of history: my humanities teacher Ms. Madrid like social and cultural history, but hates military history. My father loves studying about family history. Every type of history is different from each other. For example, social history is the study of customs, family, education, and such. Political history though, is about the government, and the making of policy, and such. Another thing historians have to do, is have artifacts, and analyse the facts. Our class experimented this. What we did was, bring several artifacts into class, and students would have to write about these artifacts. Then those papers that the notes were written on, was brought to another humanities class, and then based mainly on those notes, someone would have to write a biography about that person, and the same was done to us. I found out that I mainly assumed facts, and the information given me wasn’t helpful. The person who wrote my biography was actually spot on, but wasn’t mainly based of my artifacts.

Afterwards, we had to do a generations project. In this project, we had to find out information about three generations including ours. So I researched about my grandfather, my father, and I, when we’re all 14 years old. First, I had to make questions, that I could interview to these three people. These questions were based of off categories, and overall I had 46 questions. Then, I had to sort out which questions that I could search up online, that I could ask, and questions that I didn’t need. After that, I conducted the 2 interviews. After sorting out the answers, I had to get primary and secondary sources. A primary source is an artifact that comes directly from the time, so in this case I used plenty of photos of my generation’s when they were 14, and report cards. A secondary source is a source that is related to the time, so for example a map, or a news article. I used maps, and calendars. After I had organised this, I started filming my generations project. What I did, was using my bedroom door, I put up the pictures and artifacts on the door, while filming, so I could speed it up on iMovie, and voiceover it. The difficulty of this project was making sure that I could get enough information, under 5 minutes. Another thing was making sure that I had enough secondary sources, which I don’t think I had enough of. My message of my project was that, even though my past generations might be different, they all have some similarities.

Technology has defiantly changed the way history is recorded. Before, they would write down the history, and then be stored in an archive, or in a library. I know this because, my dad is a huge fan of family history, and just history in general, and often spends mosts of his weekends at the archives/library, and at home, he’s looking at old articles that he scanned onto the computer. But these days, you could write an article online, where it would be on and easy to find. Or, like what everyone did for the generation project, make a video, filled with primary and secondary photos with a voiceover with the information. It takes less effort to get the information, and is just easier.