July sees the launch of the “History Matters – pass it on” campaign, here in the UK.
History Matters – pass it on is all about raising awareness of the importance of history in our everyday lives and encouraging involvement in heritage in England and Wales. Our goal is to build public support and interest in looking after our history and heritage – today and in the future.
There has been a bit of a splash about the campaign after the publication of the results of a Mori poll showed that more people care about history than sport.
I fully support “History Matters – pass it on”. I’ve even declared my support. They’re asking for people to visit the website and “share your thoughts” by completing a questionnaire, uploading pictures that reflect British history, or take part in a discussion.
But I think that they are missing a trick or two on the campaign.
The website is very colourful, complete with smiling photos of Tony Benn and Bill Bryson. But it’s not very navigable. Whilst writing this, I tried to find the discussion forums, but I couldn’t remember where I saw them! After a few minutes of clicking about, I found them, and they were empty. The path to the forum is: Share your thoughts > How history matters to others > Join the debate. At the time of writing, there were 2 guests online, and the forum seems to have disappeared entirely (in Firefox).
So how do you get involved?
Declare your support Give your views on why history matters to you and what you would pass on Have you taken a photograph that captures a moment in history? Or would you like to share a picture of your favourite place? Then, why not upload them to the website? Name your favourite historic place and text it with your postcard to 077717 97777 Arrange a History Matters – pass it on event. See our on-line event guide
As a web modernist, as well as an archaeologist, I can spot that they’re missing a very big trick. The blogosphere. Websites. Where’s the online campaign?
As well as contributing to their website, why not provide people with a badge (they give away real badges at their events) to put on their sites (like the Make Poverty History campaign), and encourage people to blog about why history matters to them, and to write about their favourite historical sites that they like to visit. There could be a Flickr group set up, and a special tag for people to use on their photos.
A few blogs have picked it up already (Technorati search), but by actively encouraging online communities I think that “History Matters – pass it on” could really gain momentum and maximise the campaign’s exposure, which is what it needs.
It’s a sad fact that heritage, one of the major reasons that the UK attracts tourists from across the globe, is horrendously under-funded, which is a national disgrace. Hopefully, with political pressure, and campaigns like “History Matters – pass it on”, things will begin to change.
So – if you’ve got this far through this post – please go forth and spread the word! Pinch the badge I made from their logo, stick it on your site, and write about why history matters to you. Declare your support for the campaign, and link to their site, and link to other blogs that are writing about it. Let’s help this move!
(If you tag your posts or photos, I suggest historymatters as your keyword)