Every reader loves juicy historical details, and kids are no exception. Descriptions of unfamiliar foods, interesting objects, or everyday activities are a great way to establish your setting and to interest young readers.
But how do you discover these specific historical tidbits? You can uncover them in books, of course, but I’ve found that an even better way is to head to a museum.
I’m not talking about the Smithsonian here, although you could certainly find some great information there. Instead, your best bets are likely to be small museums with very specific focuses. I’ve been road tripping in New England this past week, and I’m amazed by the wealth of information you can find if you know where to look.
If you’re searching for in-depth coverage of early American furniture, Russian icons, or African-Americans in World War II, you might want to consider heading up this way. These museums aren’t known on a national scale, but they’re some of the best resources for the areas they cover.
Museums are filled with objects you can examine all you like (though you generally can’t touch them), which is incredibly helpful when you want to write a description of one. In addition, they feature knowledgeable staff who are more than happy to answer your questions.
I’ve found that these people tend to be very passionate about their area of expertise and will often give you much more information than you asked for. But that’s okay, because you can never do too much research…right?
What do you think about using museums to research historical fiction?
Are there any that you’ve found to be especially amazing?
Melissa Luttmann is the YA Editorial Assistant for Wonders and Marvels. You can read more about her here: Editorial Staff.