Many people who are involved in one-place research are past the first (or even the second) flush of youth. Inevitably, one day, our work will have to pass to someone younger. So, should we be making an effort to encourage younger people to take an interest in our hobby in general, or our own one-place in particular? It may be essential to ensure the preservation of our work. For some of us, just getting someone under the age of sixty involved would be progress but I am thinking here of inspiring a new generation of researchers – those who are still at school.
Of course, we have to meet them where they are and not expect them to enthuse over the opportunity to transcribe an eighteenth century tax return (although a rare few may find that appealing). We need to understand our target audience. So, the average child likes things to be:-
involving technology, or better still social media
Oh, and they really do have the attention span of a hyperactive gnat.
So, how could you involve the engaging personality that it a twenty-first century young person in one-place research? Build on their own interests. Could they look into the history of the local football club, Tweet news of your findings for you, or look into the history of their own house? Could you offer to work with a local school or uniformed group, who might be working for a local history badge? Could you create a village treasure hunt with an historical flavour? Or get children to take photos of odd features of the locality for others to identify? Young people who are keen on drama might be able to portray past residents of your place, or budding musicians might write a song about an event in your community’s history. Think outside the box. Activities need to be age appropriate and above all be FUN! If you have a great idea, please share it.