Blogging the Past in Real Time

One piece missing from most history museum installations is the sense of time. That might seem like a strange statement, but a good gallery tour might take one hour, during which events that took days, weeks, and years are compressed so that you can get the whole story in one visit.

I’ve found a couple blogs that are telling their stories in real time. One, Blogging the Beatles, has been following the world’s great rock band from its start. The posts roughly match the real events of fifty years ago, so, although we know the rest of the story, there is a certain anticipation as they have their first recording sessions with George Martin, or when they hit Number #1 on the charts with “Please, Please Me.” It helps me to understand how the Beatles exploded on the U.K. scene while remaining generally unknown in the U.S.

A second blog, Bound for South Australia, takes the same approach, except this time using captains’ logs and diaries to follow, with once a week entries, the voyages of nine ships from Great Britain to Australia in 1838. At times, not much happens, and as a reader, I watch the horizon, looking for an island up ahead. At others, storms beset the ships and with accompanying maps, we can connect the story to a place. In these forty-five entries, the authors make available primary resources for further study. It’s a great teaching technique.