Wednesday, January 28, 2015

History Challenge: Playing Games with a History Theme

By Margaret Duncan, Ed.D.

At the beginning of the year, we began the History Challenge 2015.  This is an attempt to put more history into everyone’s life.  The concept is simple: pick topics of interest to you and start completing the challenge. One of the challenges I eagerly accepted was to play games with a historical theme. Considering I own a multitude of history themed games and am part of a gaming group, this was quite easy to do.  Also, the Histocrats are eager for followers to enjoy history themed games through the “History Game of the Week” selections each week. 

For this challenge to be completed, all you need is to pick out a game with a history theme.  Games could range from boardgames to apps to video games or a combo of all.  There are so many games available with a history twist, it really is not hard to find one that may peak your interest.  When it comes to history themed games, they can range from generic board games, Euro-style board games, dice games, card games and collectible card games. They also range from quick and easy to all night complex games.  Don’t want to play a board game, there are plenty of video and app games that you can choose from as well. 

Using games to get more history into your life does not just have to be about gaining historical knowledge, but for the simple benefit of playing a game.  Historically themed games can be a gateway to allow you to get more history into your life without having to read a lengthy historical textbook.  Don’t want to read Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, pick up the game and give it a play.  Don’t want to watch a lengthy documentary on the French Revolution, pick up Guillotine and give it a play.  Simply put, not every game needs to be overtly academic or historic to meet the goal.  Games on the simplest level should be about having fun.  The historic significance can be implied. 

As we continue through the year, find a goal on the challenge and meet it head on.  Be sure to keep track of your progress during the year and share your accomplishments with the Histocrats using the hashtag #enjoyhistory15 on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

We look forward to seeing what challenges you accept and complete. Games are just one avenue to bring history alive.  We know enjoying more history in 2015 will help make it a great year.  So, get out there and play some games and have a historically fun time doing it!


Sunday, January 4, 2015

3 Ways to Put More History in Your Life in 2015

By Nina Kendall
Are you ready to enjoy history more often? Have you decide to accept the 2015 History Challenge? Here are some ideas just for you.
Connect with a Museum
Whether you are looking for a personal connection, want a new activity for your family, or a new resource for your classroom, a museum is a great answer.  Many museums are expanding their programing to connect with the public in new ways with programs targeted to different age and interests groups. Look for programming that interests you. Attend a party or find time for a special activity.   New activities and resources are available for the classroom as well. Skype and social media outlets are opening new venues for interacting with museums. In 2014, I played instagram bingo with the National Archives and explored local public art with the American Art Museum's Outdoor SculptureChallenge. You can also chat with curators or park rangers and interact with parts of a collection at any distance.

Participate in a Historic Anniversary
2015 will be a year marked by a number of historic celebrations. From the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta to the continued 100th anniversary of World War I, you are sure to find an event of interest to you. Both live and virtual events will offer a wide variety of opportunities for you. An historic anniversary may be the inspiration for a trip or just the thing to engage your friends and family with history.

Some Historic Anniversary Observances in 2015:


Explore Local Landmarks
Enjoying history doesn’t require a big budget. Take time to enjoy local history. See what the local tourism office has to offer. Stop and visit some of the places you drive by every day. As a kid my Dad stopped at every historic marker we passed and had us get out and read them.  These moments taught us about local history and inspired new investigations.  Living in the American South, Civil War historic markers lead to trips to the library, coloring pages, and trying to cook hoe cake. What was the last historic marker you read?  Is there a state or national park nearby? Then it is time for a visit. Check out their programming before planning your trip.