The Power of History and Art Combined
August 26, 2009 by Scott Powell
Through the HistoryThroughArt program, you’ll learn to see history in a new way by combining the abstract lessons of history with the visual power of art!
Aren’t you tired of history books that bombard you with too many facts? Having trouble seeing the “big picture”? Are you convinced that understanding history is just not something you can do as an adult? If you’re like me, you had a terrible history education. (Who among us actually liked history in high school? Who among us learned anything of value?!)
After graduating from college, I started to really learn history for myself. I had to…I was teaching it! I already had a love of art as well, and these two passions slowly came together. For the past three years, I’ve been using art to enjoy history even more and to help my homeschooling students across the country better understand history as part of the HistoryAtOurHouse curriculum.
The verdict is in. Students and parents agree: it’s awesome! Art really helps bring the past to life. In fact, it has worked so well, I decided to pass on the the unique benefits of this program to adults.
Why learn history through art?
History is about the past. As obvious as that is, to recognize this simple fact helps us to understand why history can be so difficult to learn. There’s no way to experience history directly. The only way to learn about the past is to read about it. As engaging as some writers can be, it still takes a ton of reading to piece together the story of the past. Even if you’re willing to make that effort, and even if you are able to assimilate all of history’s stories, what you’re left with in the end is a lot of abstract information that isn’t easy to connect to your life here and now.
That’s where art can help.
Art has the ability to show us the past in visual form. Simply put, art lets us see history. In some ways, art can function much like photography and film do today. But art can also do so much more than document history. As we’ll see throughout this course, art can represent much more than just a moment in time. It can depict the meaning of history.
This is where the power of art can transform our awareness of history. The value of history lies not in its myriad facts, but in their meaning. In most instances, however, the meaning of events is the most difficult thing to grasp of all. After you’ve performed the research, you still need to do a lot of difficult thinking. Although there are no short cuts or “quick fixes” when it comes to this challenge, there are tools for facilitating the process. Art is one such tool. Through art we can see history’s meaning.
It’s a cliche, but it’s true: a picture really is worth a thousand words! In fact, when it comes to history, a picture–if it’s a great work of art–might be worth a lot more than that!
|History Through Art for Adults will operate in the same way as A First History for AdultsTM.
The program will operate on a three-year rotation: Ancient, European, and American history.
- This year, the program will focus on European history.
- Students will have two options for attending: live lectures, via conference-call and/or on-line recordings.
The program will run from September to June, with two seminars per month.
- That’s 20 lectures in all!
- Classes start September 2nd!
- Each interactive seminar will last 1 hour to 1.5 hours.
- Students will receive images and links via a dedicated class web page.
- Live classes will be held Wednesday evenings at 8:30 PM Central Time (9:30 PM Eastern, 6:30 PM Pacific), usually on the first and third Wednesday of the month.
- All lectures will be recorded and made available indefinitely for listeners to download for repeat listening.
In every lecture, you’ll get an essentialized history lesson to help you learn the story or recapture the context. Then we will examine works of art that help us visualize the characters and events–and that help us grasp and retain the meaning of the story. Every lesson will combine the power of history and art!
Can’t attend Wednesday nights?
- You can listen to the lectures on-line, anytime.
- Lectures can easily be downloaded to an iPod or other portable player.
- You can listen as many times as you like.
- Like A First History for AdultsTM classes, History Through Art for Adults classes are recorded.
History Through Art for Adults is available for only $20/month!
- That’s less than the price of a movie per lecture! (And it’s better art!)
Want to try it, before you buy the whole course?
- Click here, and select a single month of lectures.
The HistoryThroughArt program has been one of the most successful components of the HistoryAtOurHouse homeschooling curriculum of Powell History. Combined with the unique pedagogical methods of A First History for AdultsTM, I’m certain that you will be amazed by how much you enjoy learning history! Explore your registration options here.