Those Walls Can Talk!

In my recent ‘History Matters’ article for History Today (March 2018), I discuss how the seemingly insignificant objects of our daily lives, notably buildings, are actually vital tools to understanding our past. If important abilities and qualities of mind are acquired through the study of history, its ‘stuff’, then a person’s home represents the evolving character of who they really are. Thus, how homes were used, designed and decorated can tell us exactly what we, as historians, are trying to get at: education, wealth, family connections, pleasures, loves, how people like to spend their leisure time, their taste and place in society, whether they prospered or failed, etc. Walls really can speak to us!

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