What do Historians do?

Research, analyze, record, and interpret the past as recorded in sources, such as government and institutional records, newspapers and other periodicals, photographs, interviews, films, electronic media, and unpublished manuscripts, such as personal diaries and letters.

  • Organize data, and analyze and interpret its authenticity and relative significance.
  • Gather historical data from sources such as archives, court records, diaries, news files, and photographs, as well as collect data sources such as books, pamphlets, and periodicals.
  • Trace historical development in a particular field, such as social, cultural, political, or diplomatic history.
  • Conduct historical research as a basis for the identification, conservation, and reconstruction of historic places and materials.
  • Teach and conduct research in colleges, universities, museums, and other research agencies and schools.
  • Conduct historical research, and publish or present findings and theories.
  • Speak to various groups, organizations, and clubs in order to promote the aims and activities of historical societies.
  • Prepare publications and exhibits, or review those prepared by others in order to ensure their historical accuracy.
  • Research the history of a particular country or region, or of a specific time period.
  • Present historical accounts in terms of individuals or social, ethnic, political, economic, or geographic groupings.
  • Determine which topics to research, or pursue research topics specified by clients or employers.
  • Organize information for publication and for other means of dissemination, such as use in CD-ROMs or Internet sites.
  • Research and prepare manuscripts in support of public programming and the development of exhibits at historic sites, museums, libraries, and archives.
  • Advise or consult with individuals and institutions regarding issues such as the historical authenticity of materials or the customs of a specific historical period.
  • Translate or request translation of reference materials.
  • Collect detailed information on individuals for use in biographies.
  • Interview people in order to gather information about historical events, and to record oral histories.
  • Recommend actions related to historical art, such as which items to add to a collection or which items to display in an exhibit.
  • Coordinate activities of workers engaged in cataloging and filing materials.
  • Edit historical society publications.

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