Questions About Becoming a Historian

What Is The Role Of A Historian?

The primary role of a historian is to inform others by telling a story. The historian must be the narrator of the story they want to tell. Whether relating information to a corporate executive, writing a book, or teaching, historians must present their information in an organized manner.

Questions About Historian Skills

What Hard/technical Skills Are Most Important For Historians?

Reading and effective communication are the most important skills of the historian, and many historians must learn to read, write, and/or speak in more than one language. Historians work with primary sources and have to become skilled in finding and interpreting these documents and materials. One's content knowledge and expertise will lend themselves to particular jobs and experiences over others. For example, academic jobs typically provide one or more areas of specialization expected of applicants. Digital skills have become increasingly important to the field, and the ability to code, develop multimedia and websites and other technology-based skills may expand one's opportunities.

What Skills Stand Out On Historian Resumes?

While popular perceptions of historians may involve ideas of historians sitting in dusty archives, leafing through pages in ancient manuscripts, or professing from a lectern, historians work in a diverse array of professional contexts from education and training to government and corporations. Advanced study in the discipline of history develops skills valuable in many professions. According to the American Historical Association's Disciplinary Core, studying the past fosters, among other skills, the ability to gather, filter, contextualize, synthesize, and interpret complex and conflicting material, appreciate ambiguity, and communicate, make arguments, and tell stories. Job candidates should customize their resumes/curricula vitae and seek out opportunities, credentials, and training based on their specific goals and interests. Some jobs may involve a preference for specific content areas, while others may prefer experience working with particular groups or populations. A historian position at the Department of Defense may privilege knowledge of military history or military experience, while a teaching position in a small academic department may put a value on having the ability to teach a breadth of courses or experience with underprepared students.

What Skills Will Help Historians Earn The Most?

There really is not a way to align a specific set of skills with earning potential in this field. Earnings are largely going to be determined by the kind of employer, experience, and credentials. A historian working in a corporate environment or a law firm is likely going to earn more than an instructor at a small college or high school, for example.

What Soft Skills Should All Historians Possess?

Again, context matters. The experiences of the historian at a Fortune 500 corporation and one working as a curator at a rural museum or historic site are going to be vastly different. Historians who might engage in research work at a government agency or as a scholar at an institution of higher learning need to be prepared to organize and manage their work and time with limited direct oversight. Historical research can be a lonely business, so one must be comfortable and prepared to spend extended time alone with research materials and inside her or his own brain. On the other hand, teaching and training, public history, and other public- or community-facing work require interpersonal skills, empathy, and the ability to engage with different kinds of people.

Questions About What Historians Do

What Are The Best Gifts For A History Buff?

The best gifts for a history buff are books, board games, and history-related items. There is so much to choose from in terms of history-themed gifts, and you are sure to find something that matches your history buff's personality, taste, or humor.

Books are the easiest and perhaps the best gift for history buffs. This can be a tricky one, however, because most history buffs have a big collection of historical texts. Try to take stock of what they own and get them a book that they do not have.

You can play it safe by getting a broadly historical book or a super niche book that focuses on just one aspect of history. The great thing is you probably can't go wrong when choosing a topic; while some history buffs prefer certain periods, most are happy to learn about any era in history.

There are many different history-based board games you can purchase. There are some that are more focused on historical trivia and others that are more strategy based. These make great gift ideas because you can actually participate and play with your history buff.

There are also many small items you can get for your history buffs, such as history-themed coffee mugs, pen holders, and t-shirts. These make great gift ideas if you are working on a budget.

Maps are another great gift. Many history buffs appreciate maps as well and some like to reference them when learning about specific times in history. The great thing about maps is that you have such a wide variety to choose from. You can get world maps, maps of a specific country or region, or even a map from a certain time period.

Historical coins are another great gift idea. Some of these can be very expensive, but your history buff is sure to be appreciative and impressed with this gift. Try and get them an ancient coin from an era of ancient history or more recent history you know they like.

Historical models are another great option. Many history buffs like to build models of structures, vehicles, tools, weapons, and other historical artifacts. Some even like to build entire scenes from history. The great thing about this option is you can choose to get them an individual piece or a whole set dedicated to an important historical moment.

Where Do Historians Work?

Historians work at colleges and universities, museums, archives, historical societies, corporations, and government agencies or independently. Nearly 80% of historians work for universities or other educational centers as a lecturer and researchers.

Questions About Historian How To Become

What Degree Do You Need To Be A Historian?

You need a master's degree or a Ph.D. in history to be a historian. Master's degrees in public history, museum studies, historic preservation, and archival management are also acceptable to gain work in the field.