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Historians Career

Career Description

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and institutional records, newspapers and other periodicals, photographs, interviews, films, electronic media, and unpublished manuscripts, such as personal diaries and letters.

What Job Titles Historians Might Have

  • Historian
  • Historic Sites Registrar
  • Research Associate
  • Researcher

What Historians Do

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

What Historians Should Be Good At

  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

What Historians Should Be Interested In

  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

What Historians Need to Learn

  • History and Archeology - Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Geography - Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
Diploma iconThis career requires a graduate degree.
Median Salary: $55,110

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.