The Academy of Finland awarded ReThink member Marjaana Puurtinen with Academy Research Fellow funding (450 000 e) for her project titled “Eye on History: How Experts and Novices Deal with Visual Representations of the Past”. Several other ReThink members will act as collaborators during the five-year project.
The “Eye on History” project studies how historians, history students and history enthusiasts view practices of historical research and of presenting the past in non-textual contexts. In practice, eye-tracking methodology is used to study how history workers and consumers interpret the past in images, virtual environments and historical milieus. The project collaborates with three Finnish history museums and science centers as well as with a historical society, and empirical materials collected according to the research tradition in educational sciences will be also used for theoretical reflection on history. The project provides research-based information on the various ways of interpreting the past in visuals and supports the development of history education in different types of learning environments from schools to museums. Results are also expected to encourage public debate about the diversity of conceptions of history and their impact on interpretation.