How to get the most out of the Churchill Archive’s resources
• What are the challenges in using an archive?
• What is in the Churchill Archive?
• The key principles – put into practice in our resources for schools
• Using the whole archive
Collections of documents and other sources are priceless pathways into the past for historians, whether they’re seasoned professors or students in school taking tentative steps into the past. Sources reveal how people were affected by, and felt about, the key issues of the day, whether the issue was a world war or local health care. But people didn’t produce the sources we use today to be used in the classroom. They were living documents and sometimes we have to read between the lines or look below the surface to get the full historical value from a document.
Using primary sources can be a highly rewarding and often exciting opportunity for young historians but it requires a particular set of skills. We need to use all our evaluative – or ‘investigative’ – skills as we read these sources. So it’s important to develop historical thinking skills and the best way to do this is to explore and interpret a wide variety of primary sources, alongside secondary texts.
Here we offer advice on how to use this archive to help teachers develop these skills in the historians of tomorrow.