Bringing the past to life

History may seem like a dry subject when you're reading it out of textbooks, but summertime brings lots of opportunities to make it more lively. If you are taking a summer vacation, do a bit of research to learn about the history of the place you are visiting.

For example, if you're going to Fort DeSoto Park in Florida, you could learn that it was once inhabited by Native Americans, visited by Spanish explorers, and surveyed by Robert E. Lee during the Civil War. Also, during World War II, the island was used for bombing practice by the pilot who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Because of these historical events, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Actually going to the place you've read about can give you an added sense of depth and realism, instead of simply thinking of it as a place mentioned in a book somewhere. You can recall the imagery of the location you visited and get a sense of its culture and landscape.

Not going anywhere this summer? Do a little research about where you live now. This might involve going to your local library or talking to some of the older citizens of the town. You may be surprised to find out what happened in the place where you live. All of this information could be used to help you with your writing projects once school begins.