We’re running a new regular feature to showcase history websites, called “Medieval Friends”. We want to encourage and invite those of you who are passionate about history to share a little about your websites and yourselves. History is important, let’s show the world why! We’re kicking it off with Historical Honey, a great website run by three talented and dedicated women: Annabelle, Jenna and Polly. Located in London, England, they’re committed to making history, fun, accessible, and exciting. They’ve recently launched a Secret Book Club, and are always looking for contributors with a passion for history. Here’s a little more about their website, who they are and why they love history.
1.) What made you decide to create a site like Historical Honey?
It all started because we became disheartened that the majority of historical materials that were aimed at people within the industry. Just because someone hasn’t pursued a cultural vocation doesn’t meant they aren’t passionate about the past. Whether you just like to dip your toe in from time to time or are a fully-fledged historical fanatic there should be a place you can go to share your interests in an accessible and entertaining way. After speaking to many young people we found they associated history with long dusty articles and an endless list of dates. This made us think, perhaps they would be more interested if it was presented in short, fun and easy to read articles? If our site can spark an interest in a particular topic or period that’s great – if a reader has particularly enjoyed an article then we actively encourage them to go and seek out more info.
2.) Your site aims to make history fun and accessible to the masses – what did you find lacking with most history sites? Why is history important to you?
We know it’s controversial to say, but the majority of historical sites out there are dull, and even though the content can be fascinating, the delivery isn’t accessible and the majority of people are put off by history for this very reason. Annabelle and Polly are archaeologists, and there are publications/TV shows (which shall not be named) which in theory they should read and watch religiously…but they don’t. Why? Because they are boring. There is no escaping that we are living in an ever-evolving digital age, and content should reflect this. With news breaking on Twitter, information is at people fingertips and it is harder than ever to hold someone’s attention. How do you get an 18 year old who shares and receives info via 140 character Tweets to sit down and read a 4000 word article with no images? With difficulty. History is important to us because it broadens our minds. How can you walk without knowing where you’ve been? As such, Historical Honey is important to us because we don’t want people to dismiss the history of their world because of its ‘boring’ reputation. We want to present history in a fun and engaging way. We actively encourage people to contribute and write 500 word articles on a subject of their choosing, with our in-house team creating the artwork to match. In the beginning we thought we would get dozens of articles on popular subjects such as Rome or Egypt. To our surprise we haven’t received one yet! It’s an amazing insight into how varied peoples interests are, and there truly is something for everyone.
3.) The site launched in April last year, what were some of the challenges you found in building and running a historical website versus a private blog?
The whole thing has been a massive learning curve. I’d say the biggest challenge has been time. You will know all too well that a historical website take a serious amount of time. From designing, building, editing, writing, outreaching… and then you think you’re done for the day and the whole site crashes, and you have to start again! But in all honestly, the motivating force has been our contributors. If they can spend the time researching and writing wonderful articles then we will jolly well make them look marvellous! We know all too well how much goes into the up-keep of blogs, so rather than manage your own blog, our site gives contributors a platform to voice their passions.
4.) What are you plans for 2014?
What can readers look forward to? We have lots of exciting stuff up our sleeve! Obviously we want to keep growing and building on what we have to date, but there are loads of new things in store too. We don’t want to give it away but there will be two new sections to the site this year, which will be announce very soon..! Aside from that we’d love the #SecretBookClub to really take off this year. We have had lots of great meetings with publishers and now have the majority of this year’s new historical releases at the ready to send out to our contributors. We can’t wait to hear what they all think of them!
5.) What direction would you like to see Historical Honey move towards in the next five years?
Obviously we’d love for our contributor numbers to move out of the hundreds and into the thousands. We want to be bringing you content every hour of every day, on every platform imaginable. Basically, we aim to be so immersed in history to the extent where Jenna and I call our first-borns ‘Anne’ and ‘Boleyn’.
6.) You encourage contributions – can you share a little bit about what you’re looking for and how people can contribute to the site?
We can best describe Historical Honey as a pick n’ mix of historical content. Sometimes we can be silly, sometimes naughty, but it’s all what makes us human, right? Folks from history were certainly no different! There really are no set rules when it comes to contributor articles; if someone can bring passion to a subject, it can’t help but be interesting. It really is passion that is a fundamental driver behind the whole concept of Historical Honey, and all of our contributors have passion in abundance!
If you would like to become a contributor please email firstname.lastname@example.org
(For more info: http://www.historicalhoney.com/contribute/ )
For more information on the #SecretBookClub: http://www.historicalhoney.com/whatisthesecretbookclub/
For all other enquiries please contact Annabelle, email@example.com
Follow us on Twitter: @HistoricalHoney
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HHHive