Ultimate Guide to History Resources

History is more than just dates and names of long-ago events and dead people. It is the study of the themes and processes that shape our current world, and it is important for everyone to learn. We put together this guide to make it a little easier to find the resources you need to dive deeper into the study, teaching or casual perusal of history, from the first humans all the way up to whatever happened yesterday. In this guide you will find links to some 40 sources that will lead you to relevant blogs, archives, podcasts, teaching guides and much more.


General History Resources

Whether you just want to dip your toes into the big subject of history or are fascinated by historical trivia, this section has blogs, podcasts and other great resources that provide great introductions to the topic. Check out some of these links for a quick fix of historical knowledge.

Stuff You Missed in History Class – This entertaining and informative podcast is a fun mix of trivia and research on a wide range of fascinating but little known historical topics.

If It Happened Yesterday, It’s History – This fascinating blog provides quick nibbles of history with articles on a huge range of historical events stretching across human history, with a particular focus on warfare and military history.

Smithsonian Magazine – Covering just about every period in human history, the Smithsonian Magazine puts out well-written and fascinating articles, often focusing on important new archeological finds.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Explore & Learn – Museum’s online collections are a great way to experience history, and the MOMA has one of the best. The website has a Timeline of Art History, interactive activities for kids, stories behind particular objects, artist biographical materials and cultural exhibits.

15 Minute History – For those who want just a quick bite of history, this podcast provides 15-minute introductions to periods in American and world history. The website provides further links on each topics, if you are inspired to learn more.

Women of History – By focusing on the often-overlooked stories of women through time, and their important contributions to historical events, this blog looks at history through a different lens.


History Study Resources

Any student of history knows that there are endless details to learn. If you’re studying history, preparing for an exam, or just looking to learn more about a particular historical period, these links will help get you the information you need.

Kids.gov – For young students or anyone who wants a basic overview of American history topics, this site is a great first stop. It has informative videos and videos to make learning fun.

Smithsonian History Explorer – Use this cool tool to browse through the huge library of Smithsonian resources and artifacts, watch informative videos and read books. It’s like having the whole museum at your fingertips.

A.P. U.S. History Notes – Students of AP U.S. History will want to turn to this helpful website to prepare for their exam. It has chapter outlines, practice tests, and sample essays to help you feel ready to take the big test.

Khan Academy World History – Khan Academy is a great way to learn more about any subject, and that is especially true for it’s great collection of lessons on world history. Go through individual lessons and then take practice tests to see how far you’ve come.

Reading, Writing, and Researching for History: A Guide for College Students – Before diving into a large history research project for college, turn to the helpful materials on this website to learn important skills like how to read primary and secondary historical sources and how to structure a history paper.


History Teaching Resources

Need help filling out your lesson plans and lectures with exciting historical material? Use these history teaching resources links to add depth and spice to your history lessons. Find ready-to-use lessons, videos, worksheets, events and more.

Teaching History – Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Teachinghistory.org provides K–12 history teachers access to useful resources and materials that will improve U.S. history education in the classroom, from lesson plans to expert advisors.

National History Day – National History Day (NHD) is a non-profit education organization that aims to engage middle- and high-school students around the world in conducting original, historical research. NHD provides professional development opportunities as well as curriculum materials for educators, including educational videos and lesson plans.

National Council for the Social Studies – Are you a teacher looking for a one-stop shop for lesson plans and ideas for every period of history? The Teacher’s Library from the NCSS is the place to go – it has a huge collection of fun classroom activities, creative teaching ideas, and background articles spanning every historical period and grade level.

Teaching American History – This site contains a wealth of knowledge for educators, with a focus on American history. It has a database of lesson plans, a blog for teachers, resources for homeschooling and seminars across the country on history education topics.

Smithsonian Education – Lesson plans, worksheets, professional development events and more can all be found on this website run by the Smithsonian Institution. It covers all areas of study and there are huge amounts of historical resources, covering topics such as Women’s History, Black History, American Indian Heritage and more.

World History For Us All – World History for Us All is a model curriculum for teaching world history in for grades 6-12. It offers teaching units, lesson plans and multimedia resources spanning a broad survey of world history.


Primary Sources

A crucial part of the study of history is the use of primary sources – sources created by people who lived and experienced the history themselves. Use the links below to access some great collections of primary sources to use for your research project or just to satisfy your historical curiosity.

DocsTeach – This tool, provided by the National Archives, is especially useful for educators. It provides access to a huge collection of primary source documents that span the entire course of American history.

Fordham University Full Text Sources – This straightforward website offers full text sources for a variety of historical topics, broken down by periods, events and issues. It also links to other full text resources across the web.

The Avalon Project – Presented by Yale University, the Avalon project is a great place to head to get access to primary sources for any time in world history, from ancient times to modern day.

Life Magazine Photo Collection – If you are looking for visual primary sources, Life Magazine has fascinating and enormous collection of photos dating from as far back as the 1860s. You can search photos by decade or by topic.

Turning the Pages – Get “hands-on” with the British Library’s collection through Turning the Pages, an interactive display system that allows Visitors are able to virtually leaf through the pages of some of the collection’s most famous manuscripts.

Project Gutenberg – Project Gutenberg is a great place to turn to get your hands on a collection of over 30,000 electronic texts, all searchable by author or title. The best part? All content is free to download in the United States.


U.S. History Resources

Click through links below to discover more about the short but rich history of the United States. From the landing of Christopher Columbus to the present day, there is so much to learn about U.S. history.

American Memory – This fantastic resource includes large multimedia collections of photographs, recorded sound, moving pictures, and digitized text on all recorded areas of American history.

American Panorama – Get a visual sense of what American History looks like through this beautiful, interactive atlas of U.S. history.

History Matters – Presented by George Mason University, this website is a gateway to all kinds of web resources on U.S. history, designed be helpful for both students and teachers.

U.S. History Timeline – This comprehensive timeline of U.S. History is great for getting a broad sense of what happened when in the history of the United States.

Presidential Academy – For a look at U.S. political history, this 30-session course provides a comprehensive coverage of the entire political and intellectual history of American government. Each session includes a lecture 60-90 minute lecture a set of primary source readings.

History Buff – Experience American history through the eyes of contemporaries through History Buff, which has press coverage of all of the notable events in American history.


Ancient History Resources

Biblical times, Greek democracy, the Roman Empire – these are all part of what is known as Ancient History. The links below will take you to websites that have a wealth of information on this important period in history.

Ancient History Encyclopedia – The Ancient History Encyclopedia is a great reference tool for students or anyone needing to quickly look up facts and figures about people, events, cultures and themes of the ancient world.

Perseus Digital Library  – This a useful high-level resource tool for scholars of ancient history, with translations of many ancient texts.

Pelagios Map – With the intention to allow users to freely navigate a “sea of open data” and discover ancient times, this interactive map is a unique and fascinating way to immerse yourself in and explore the ancient world.

Antiquity Online – This online “textbook” has 30 chapters that walk the reader through world history covering ancient religions, empires, cultures, and more. It has links to other resources and helpful photos and maps.

Cleopatra: A Multimedia Guide to the Ancient World

– Especially good for younger learners, Cleopatra is an interactive learning guide that provides access to the to Art Institute of Chicago’s Ancient Art collection. Each object is shown with a story, and there are even lesson plans for students in grades 4-12.


Medieval History Resources

There is something endlessly fascinating about medieval history, with all its castles and knights and jousting. Check out the sources below to gain even more insight into what is known about life and times in the Middle Ages.

Internet Medieval Sourcebook – Presented by Fordham University, the Internet History Sourcebooks has an impressive breadth of materials on medieval history, with primary sources, secondary articles, maps and images, and more. It is a good starting point for research on any topic from that period.

Labyrinth: Medieval Resources – Another great compendium of electronic resources in medieval studies put out by Georgetown University, Labyrinth offers free access to a huge collection of resources such as full-text versions of medieval works, video, maps and images.

Medievalists.Net – A blog and community covering all things Middle Ages, Medievalists.com posts articles covering wide range of interesting Medieval topics.

De Re Militari: The Society for Medieval Military History – If it is medieval warfare that you are interested in, this academic association is a great resource. Its online resource section has articles, primary texts and more for those interested in all aspects of fighting in the Middle Ages.

The Online Medieval and Classical Library – This searchable collection holds all of the most important literary works of Classical and Medieval civilizations. The texts can be browsed by, Author, Genre, or original Language.