Media Resource

Ask an NEH Expert: Multiple Perspectives

Anne Petersen, Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (Santa Barbara, California), addresses why multiple perspectives are important to developing a rich understanding of historical events and topics. The video includes how maps and primary documents available at the Santa Barbara Trust can be used to analyze multiple and competing perspectives in history.

This video is one in a series about historical research and writing developed through a collaboration between the National Endowment for the Humanities and National History Day.

Questions for Analysis and Comprehension

These questions can be used before viewing the video to brainstorm ideas and review the concepts discussed in the interview, or after watching as a way to reflect on the interview.

1. Why is it important to learn about an event, person, or place in history through multiple lenses?

2. What types of sources can be used to show multiple perspectives on a single topic when researching?

3. What do contradicting perspectives teach us about history?

Interview Questions with Timestamps

1. What does multiple perspectives mean in the field of history? (2:30)

2. What materials are available at the Santa Barbara Historic Trust to show multiple perspectives around an historical issue? (3:40)

3. When you are researching, why is it important to look for different perspectives? What things should we consider when we are trying to find them? (7:07)

4. How can maps available at the Santa Barbara Historic trust be used to investigate multiple perspectives? (8:15)

5. How do you identify other perspectives? How do you know what to look for? (12:42)

6.  How do you engage with historical perspectives you disagree with while researching? (17:12)

7. What are some ways students can include multiple perspectives in their final projects? (20:50)