The Value of History

Team Tell History is committed to engaging more people in history. When we saw some of the work of The History Relevance Campaign on Twitter earlier this week we were eager to know more. They say that they are a diverse group of history professionals posing questions about what makes the past relevant today. And they have an excellent website!

On the site, there have published a value statement. We have reproduced this below because, well, we agree with everything it says! Not only that, The HRC is calling for groups to endorse the value statement – and as an entire team we wholeheartedly do! We are writing today to the campaign to hopefully be included on their list of endorsers.

Read the statement – join us in endorsing it – and then have a look at 10 ways you can apply the value statement . We all care about history – let’s make everyone understand its value!

Seven Ways History is Essential…

To Ourselves:

IDENTITY » History nurtures personal identity in an intercultural world. History enables people to discover their own place in the stories of their families, communities, and nation. They learn the stories of the many individuals and groups that have come before them and shaped the world in which they live. There are stories of freedom and equality, injustice and struggle, loss and achievement, and courage and triumph. Through these varied stories, they create systems of personal values that guide their approach to life and relationships with others.

CRITICAL SKILLS » History teaches critical 21st century skills and independent thinking. The practice of history teaches research, judgment of the accuracy and reliability of sources, validation of facts, awareness of multiple perspectives and biases, analysis of conflicting evidence, sequencing to discern causes, synthesis to present a coherent interpretation, clear and persuasive written and oral communication, and other skills that have been identified as critical to a successful and productive life in the 21st century.

To Our Communities

VITAL PLACES TO LIVE AND WORK » History lays the groundwork for strong, resilient communities. No place really becomes a community until it is wrapped in human memory: family stories, tribal traditions, civic commemorations.

Our connections and commitment to one another are strengthened when we share stories and experiences.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT » History is a catalyst for economic growth. People are drawn to communities that have preserved a strong sense of historical identity and character. Cultural heritage is a demonstrated economic asset and an essential component of any vibrant local economy, providing an infrastructure that attracts talent and enhances business development.

To Our Future

ENGAGED CITIZENS » History helps people craft better solutions. At the heart of democracy is the practice of individuals coming together to express views and take action. By bringing history into discussions about contemporary issues, we can better understand the origins of and multiple perspectives on the challenges facing our communities and nation. This can clarify misperceptions, reveal complexities, temper volatile viewpoints, open people to new possibilities, and lead to more effective solutions for today’s challenges.

LEADERSHIP » History inspires local and global leaders. History provides leaders with inspiration and role models for meeting the complex challenges that face our communities, nation, and the world. It may be a parent, grandparent or distant ancestor, a local or national hero, or someone famous or someone little known. Their stories reveal how they met the challenges of their day, which can give new leaders the courage and wisdom to confront the challenges of our time.

LEGACY » History, saved and preserved, is the foundation for future generations. History is crucial to preserving democracy for the future by explaining our shared past. Through the preservation of authentic, meaningful places, documents, artifacts, images, and stories, we leave a foundation upon which future Americans can build. Without the preservation of our histories, future citizens will have no grounding in what it means to be an American.