Why are People so Fascinated by History?

Olivia Sorenson, Student Writer

Sometimes I sit and wonder, why do so many people get so fascinated with history? I decided to find out, and here’s some answers that can help us figure this out.

With research I’ve found that Sevenarchesmuseum.com says, “Maybe it is because they lived in a world so different from the one, we are familiar with” (2022). Or UW Madison department of history says, “History builds empathy through studying the lives and struggles of others” (2022). These statements can tell us how an interest in history can come in different ways.

Some people say that history helps people better understand themselves. Others say how history can get very personal, and that’s how we attract to it. Whether you had a relative in a war, or someone you know live through an event, it can cause you to become fascinated by that event.

History can help you identify yourself. Family, groups, countries, farming; can all lead you to looking up your family history and getting interested in what happened many years ago.

History can become very personal, as it did with Michael Stern. Professor Amos Bitzan exclaims, “‘I realized that Sara Spira’s postcards could be a way for my students to integrate two facets of the study of the Holocaust: an analysis of victims and perpetrators.’ After one of his former students Micheal Stern contacted Bitzan for help to translate the letters he found from his grandmother” (UW Madison department of history 2022). With this example we can show how history can become so close and personal, without us even realizing. This can also show us how history can be found anywhere; you might just have to look a little harder.

The award-winning novelist Hannah Fielding claims, “Ultimately, I think a passion for history is synonymous with a passion for understanding people- and through understanding others, we come to know ourselves” (hannahfielding.net 2022). Fielding believes history is gorgeous, and people love to see ancient artifacts and historical buildings to see how different we build and create things now. For example, people love seeing the colosseum in Rome. People love to see old cans, magazines, plates, bowls, anything that can help them connect with the past.

History is a confusing, yet rewarding fascination, and there are such great benefits to learning more about where you come from.  So, if you were ever curious on why so many people love history, here’s something to think about.