People have a fascination with history because it's the human story. Things from the past are a record of how we got where we are. It helps us connect with deep-seated emotions we all share throughout time. It helps keep us on a path of progress.

The more personal an item is the more it brings the past to life. The four historical items below bring history into the world today in unique ways.

Handwritten Documents

Handwritten documents have a way of making a historical figure more real. And not just because they often give us a glimpse into the person’s life. It’s because we see something before us that was created by the historical figure. We know their hands held the document and imprinted the words on the page.

The curators of the Raab Collection are fortunate enough to live and work among history like this every day. Over the years they have located and authenticated handwritten documents written by Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein and Mark Twain, just to name a few. They’ve seen the way these documents connect with people on a level that transcends time.

Another famous handwritten document that has been written about hundreds of times in the last 70 years is Anne Frank’s diaries. The original diaries are on display at the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam at the very attic the family occupied during WWII. They are so poignant people are often moved to tears when they see the diaries with their own eyes.

The Brushstrokes of Artworks

Paintings have helped capture history in many ways long before photography and film were ever conceived. Painters captured the likeness of world leaders, landscapes and moments in time that otherwise wouldn’t exist in our minds today. Their work is a record of artistic movements, fashion and every day activities that would have been lost.

The brushstrokes themselves are so visceral it gives life to the artwork. It’s an imprint of the artist’s hand that will live forever.

A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

The Civil War and photography just happened to coincide in history. It was the first war that was photographed, capturing the rawest of emotions in an entirely new way. Experts agree that the photography was so impactful it changed the way war was conducted.

Since then photographers have recorded candid moments in history through a lens. They bring us right back to a specific memory, forever securing it’s place in history.

Tokens of Love and Memories

Lockets were made to hide secrets, which makes them one of the most personal pieces of jewelry ever made. Many people would have the inside engraved so that a hidden message always lives inside. These personalized trinkets were often passed down as heirlooms that tell a piece of a family’s history.

They were also used to mark major events. Births, engagements and even mourning were occasions that warranted the gift of a locket during the Victorian era. Back then it wasn’t proper for widows to adorn themselves with jewelry for a certain period of time. A locket with a memento of their husband was the only thing they could wear a year after their husband’s death.

How Today’s Technology is Helping Preserve Yesterday’s History

Whether art forms are esoteric or meant to connect with the world, they are susceptible to the passing of time like any other object. In order to preserve pieces of history, experts have turned to modern day technology.

Restoration technology has helped historians preserve invaluable pieces of art, photographs and documents. It has become a specialty all its own, but various types of technology can prove useful in the preservation process. 

A perfect example is Palmyar’s Arch of Triumph. Recently 3D printing experts at the Institute for Digital Archaeology took on the task of creating a smaller-scale replica of the ancient Syrian monument. The original monument was destroyed by ISIS members last year. The team found images that they were able to use to get a three-dimensional perspective and used that to make the model.

What Roman artisans created by hand 2,000 years ago was perfectly replicated with Egyptian marble in days. Currently, the Arch of Triumph replica is on tour around the world to serve as a reminder of how precious items from the past are in today’s culture.

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