Monday, 31 January 2011

How to be a Retronaut

This is as near as it gets to history porn. 'How to be a Retronaut' is a delight. But more specifically, for history enthusiasts (okay, geeks) such as me, its 'time mashups' category of galleries is superb. Images such as the one above, from the 'Ghosts of the Blitz' gallery, are magnificent.

More than that, I think 'Retronaut' provides a graphic illustration of why I love history, and why I believe people who have no interest in the past are generally speaking those who lack imagination in the way they live their lives in the present.

There is a wealth of fun just in walking around your city and imagining how its streets looked and sounded seventy, two hundred or five hundred years ago; why some buildings are old and others more modern; who the people were walking on its pavements; how they lived their lives; and what it felt like to be there at pivotal points in history.

What does it take to convince people that what they see in museums was once an active part of the present? You can visit a museum to see a Heinkel 111 bomber close up, but better to imagine it flying over Rotherhithe, or tangling with the Few over Buckingham Palace.


Many thanks to Jason Hesse for introducing me to 'Retronaut'.