If you love history then it’s important to engage in practical pastimes that allow you to explore the full nuances of our past mainly because it’ll give you a greater appreciation for how things were or even how things were done back then.
Some of these hobbies might not even seem directly relevant, but we’ll explain why we think they might be a good candidate for someone interested in approaching historical exploration in a more practical manner — let’s take a look.
History or Hobby? Why not both? (11 Hobbies for History Lovers and History Buffs)
For most lovers of history, reading is probably one of the most obvious hobbies to get engaged in if you want to learn about the past, not only from a modern perspective but also from old texts that can give you a direct link to the past and the mind of someone at that time.
This includes books on the history of humanity, psychology, philosophy, tools, building methods, food gathering, and many other essential areas of human existence.
In fact, no other medium (other than the internet) can really compete with books on the amount of information they can provide so clearly or concisely about the past which is why reading should 100% be in your repertoire of pastimes to keep up with the nuances of history.
2. Metal Detecting
Metal detecting is a field-based hobby that involves going to different areas of interest to see if you can find any historical metal-based artifacts lying around in the dirt.
It’s not a glamorous hobby but it’s certainly an exciting one thanks to how unique some of the finds can be depending on where you’re looking.
Some detection sites are more obvious than others when thinking about places to find rare objects such as coins or weaponry, however, less obvious places can also yield interesting finds too — it all depends on how persistent you are.
Bear in mind, you’ll need a metal detector before you can get started but they’re usually relatively cheap and will provide thousands of hours of fun for you to sink your teeth into.
3. Antique Collecting
Antiques are directly connected to history because well, they’re antiques.
That is, they’re historical items from a range of different niches such as decorative ornaments, weaponry, armor, books, paintings, and even old clothing.
There are no restrictions to what can and can’t be an antique and that’s what makes antique finding and dealing so interesting — you can really find some obscure historical items that can have very interesting backstories.
The only caveat being is that most antiques are also seen as collector’s items and thus, are typically quite expensive to be dealing in on a regular basis, therefore, make sure to invest only in things that are special to you or that you think can turn a profit.
Another quite practical and somewhat historical hobby is traveling, whereby you can visit different historical sites and areas to see old styles of architecture, buildings, and even monuments of things now long gone.
However, from a more relevant standpoint, you can even visit modern-day cultures that still live as some of our ancestors would have hundreds of years ago meaning you get to draw on real-world examples to help you connect the dots.
In fact, some tribal cultures haven’t changed their methods of living for thousands of years meaning you can even learn things that may have been lost to modern history — think healing and spiritual methodologies.
Aside from that, it’s just great to explore different cultures from time to time and you can see how their society may have been influenced directly by their past.
5. Visit museums
Museums are another on-the-nose type of historical hobby whereby you can view historical artifacts and information that has been collected and displayed by the museum.
This is great because it means you’re getting handpicked relevant information from historical experts who will clearly explain why certain things are the way they are and how they are linked to that particular point in history.
This even includes animals from a pre-historic past that can be experienced in all their former majesty such as the fearsome T. Rex or horned triceratops.
Museums are a convenient window into the past that also happens to make an excellent day out with friends and family.
6. Use Wayback Machine (Internet History Archive)
If you think the internet of old has been lost to history then think again — it hasn’t!
That’s because the internet offers a service called The Wayback Machine which is an archiving system designed to snapshot internet pages as regularly as possible to create a digital footprint of their history and to show how they’ve changed over time.
This means you can literally browse a website and experience how it was more than twenty years ago if you wish!
This may not seem so significant right now but imagine how mindblowing that will be hundreds or even thousands of years in the future.
The rabbit hole goes deep on this one so make sure you prepare for a long and winding night full of interesting exploratory digital digging.
Archaeology is probably the first activity that springs to mind when you say the word history out loud.
That’s because archaeologists literally dig for evidence of historical musings whereby they can conclude answers to their studies or can help to enlighten the world on how certain cultures lived in the past and what types of tools they used.
As a hobby, you’ll more than likely need to have an educational background in this field if you want to get involved as it usually requires permission from local governments who manage and oversee these types of projects — basically, they don’t just let anyone dig up an area to try and find historical artifacts.
Spelunking is one of the most interesting hobbies when considered from a historical fact-finding point of view purely because it doesn’t have an exact methodology to follow and can also be relatively dangerous.
In case you didn’t know, spelunking is the activity of cave diving or cave exploration whereby you’ll need to have extremely good cave navigation skills to prevent yourself from an almost guaranteed death should you find yourself in trouble.
However, for those that push themselves to go the extra mile, caves can yield some rather interesting finds that can give clues to our prehistoric past and can even enlighten us to some long-forgotten or undocumented wildlife discoveries.
Caves also fall host to beautiful crystal structures that can span for hundreds and even thousands of meters and are certainly a sight to see when fully illuminated.
9. Deep-Sea Diving
Deep-sea diving is another exploratory hobby that can lead to some historical finds such as wrecked ships, treasure chests, and other novel artifacts.
In most cases, you’ll only be able to dive so far without the use of specialist equipment, and thus, makes this hobby rather prohibitive for the average person.
However, it doesn’t stop you from getting involved with larger collective projects in which you can offer your expertise to assist on the dive, which in most cases, will be carried out using an automated submersible vehicle.
The sea is a rather hostile and somewhat inaccessible place which makes it the perfect place for secrets just waiting to be discovered.
10. Outdoor Survival
If you really want to embrace the history of humankind then there’s probably no better way to do that than to literally throw yourself into the raw power of nature.
Outdoor survival expeditions require proper planning and tact if you’re going to thrive — it does also require an element of caution as some areas of the wilderness are extremely hostile and shouldn’t be undertaken lightly.
However, provided you give prior notification of your whereabouts and what you’re attempting to do then we really think you should give it a try to see how well you fare.
Basically, humans lived like this for almost 90% of history which makes it an interesting field-based experiment and is certainly a great way to understand the past.
Foraging is mostly related to survival in some senses, however, it’s a good experiment to get a better understanding of how humans used to live and how they would achieve a sound nutritional profile.
For thousands of years, humans had to forage off the landscape to make sure they’d make it to the next day — this makes foraging completely entwined to the past and to the ultimate success of our species.
In fact, many practical tasks such as this one are a great way to really understand the process and development of how history played out — sometimes it’s hard to truly understand history without doing something yourself.
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