What they do
Historians research events, people, technologies, ideas and other topics from the past. They collect data from a wide variety of sources, which can be cross-checked with other sources to check accuracy and find discrepancies. Historians interpret this information to suggest theories and draw conclusions about the subject. Their findings can be published through reports, books, journal articles, in the media, presented as lectures or form part of a museum exhibition. Many historians also undertake teaching duties at universities or schools. They may also act as an adviser or consultant to governments and other organisations, such as churches, private businesses or individuals.
In Western Australia, the majority of historians work in the Perth metropolitan region, in offices, libraries, museums or from their own homes. Some historians may occasionally travel to universities, libraries and museums around the world to examine rare data sources, study sites of interest first hand or attend conferences. They generally work regular business hours, though this may vary depending on specific projects.
Tools and technologies
Historians collect information from a wide variety of data sources including manuscripts, diaries, letters, artefacts and newspaper, magazine and journal articles. Information sources are often located in archives or libraries, and historians will need to be familiar with referencing systems to locate information related to the subject they are researching. Some historians may also conduct interviews with people, often recording them. They also use computers and word processing software to write-up their findings.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a professional historian you usually need to study a degree in history at university, preferably at the honours level. Most historians also hold additional postgraduate qualifications.
Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses.
Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
Required registration and licensing