What Do Historians Do?


Quick Answer

Historians perform research, collect and analyze historical information, make information accessible, and arrange exhibits. They also educate people by giving speeches at universities and historical societies, writing books and teaching.

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Full Answer

Historians research numerous documents and resources to write their own accounts of the past. They write books and articles for the public and other historians. They meticulously examine all historical records to discover if the sources are genuine and to interpret the information. Because some sources are not reliable, it is the responsibility of historians to cross-reference each source with other evidence. They trace the research contributed by other historians, and they work with one another to compare resources and form meaningful conclusions. Upon discovering information and composing accurate histories, historians archive the information to make it available to the public. They also sometimes organize, preserve and present artifacts and artworks in museums.

Historians impart their knowledge and findings to others by working directly with people who show interest in history. They prepare presentations, give talks and sometimes travel to different schools. Historians work in many workplaces, including archives, universities, museums, nonprofit organizations, businesses and government agencies. Organizations sometimes hire historians to research particular policies, while government agencies contact historians to assist them in making critical decisions that affect the lives of people. Some people also seek help from historians to perform research on their genealogical roots.

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