Trinity Honoured to host Professor Sir Richard Evans
The History Department were honoured to host Professor Sir Richard Evans, Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge, on Wednesday 4th July. Professor Evans is one of the foremost historical scholars working in England today. As well as holding the Regius Chair in Modern History at Cambridge University, he is President of Wolfson College. He is a renowned expert on modern German history, and has published a seminal series on the history of the Third Reich, as well as books on aspects of German social and cultural history. He has also written major works on the discipline of History itself, as well as serving as an expert witness in the Libel trial brought by David Irving against Deborah Lipstadt over the issue of accused Holocaust Denial.
Professor Evans gave a keynote lecture, before visiting the Trinity School Museum. In his lecture, he commented on the nature of History as a discipline, reflecting that the subject is about critical enquiry, asking difficult questions and instilling the belief in students that we should refuse to accept what we are told. He was also a strong advocate of the combination of knowledge and historical concepts in teaching, something which the History Department at Trinity was glad to hear from such an eminent scholar. He also heaped praise on the museum project, commenting on the wide range of artefacts on display: “Pupils have done a marvellous job in collecting such diverse and evocative objects. They show what an exciting subject History is and how we can all learn what the past has left behind”
His view that, “museums are a starting point which allow critical reflection on the past”, reinforced the aim of the project and the thinking skills that have been developed by Trinity students who have visited the museum. The process of using objects as a starting point to ask pertinent questions was one that Professor Evans found to be fundamental in the study of History. “A museum is not the resting place for a collection of dusty objects, it is a starting point for further enquiry.”
Pupils enjoyed a lively question and answer session on a wide range of subjects, from the future of History teaching in schools to the Professor’s favourite figure in History. Afterwards pupils commented:
- “It was a thought provoking and inspiring talk”
- “It’s wonderful to have an expert give his opinion on our artefacts, it gives an extra dimension to the school project”
- “It shows how simple objects can increase our awareness of the importance of history in our daily lives”
We would like to thank Professor Evans for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit Trinity.