Why study history?

The study of history begins with questions, not answers. We seek to know what happened in the past, and we also seek to understand why.

As our present-day context raises new challenges for our communities, historians are inspired to ask new questions about the past, seeking understanding of a broad variety of human experiences. Historians explore questions about past politics and economics, intellectual developments, social concerns shaped by race, gender and class, and facets of culture ranging from arts and languages to human spaces and emotions. As a result, the study of history is dynamic, rather than static, and those trained in this discipline develop valuable skills in gathering, evaluating, connecting and interpreting factual information, and in the use of evidence to argue persuasively for their conclusions.

Learn more about what historians do and why employers value these skills.


Rebecca Guest

June 14, 2024

Conversation with History Alum Rebecca Guest

Rebecca Guest's journey from VCU history student to Mariners' Museum philanthropy coordinator reflects on her lifelong passion for museums and artifacts, driven by a desire to engage the public and preserve history.

kent schull

May 9, 2024

Making Sense of the Current Situation

On April 17, VCU history’s Alexandrian Society welcomed Kent Schull, Ph.D. of Binghamton University to VCU for his presentation of, “The Question of Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention in Israel-Palestine: Making Sense of the Current Situation."

rebecca rose standing in front of the doors to the library of congress

April 18, 2024

Rebecca Rose: From History M.A. student to working at the Library of Congress

Rebecca Rose speaks with Mel Sheehan about her time as a student in the VCU History M.A. Program and her new role at the Library of Congress.

History Spotlight


Collaboration and sharing are at the core of our mission.

man kneeling in remembrance

Reverence & Remembrance: Contextualizing the East Marshall Street Well Project

Date: Thursday, Jun 27, 2024

Members of the VCU and greater Richmond community are invited to the exhibit opening of "Reverence & Remembrance: Contextualizing the East Marshall Street Well Project" on Thursday, June 27, from 10 am to noon in the Cabell Library, Cabell Room, 4th floor.