What if you could hear history from your ancestors themselves?

We aren’t talking immortality, but instead, technology. There are projects in the works to help preserve our history by having it spoken to new generations from the mouths of those who actually experienced the events in question. So how does it work?

Image: View down long pillared hallway (towards a new generation of history keeping)

Source: Pixabay

Think about it–a story told over and over from person to person will eventually change or be lost completely. Really, how much of our early recorded history is possibly tainted because of numerous retellings before it was written down?  What would be different if we were able to hear what happened from the people who actually experienced it?  Do you think you’d feel a deeper connection to past events if you could interact with them?

That’s where the holograms come in. In this sense, they’re interactive recordings of humans recounting their lives and opening themselves to questions from the audience using voice-recognition technology and machine learning to respond. This is being implemented at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, who recorded 13 holocaust survivors in this way in order to preserve their crucial stories for all time.

In the great video below from The New York Times, we get to hear the story of survivor, Eva Schloss and see what it’s like to have some of the hardest years of your life protected against time. They have some big plans for the transformation of this technology in the future. Take a look…

If you’d like to hear how the launch of this exhibit at the Take A Stand Center in the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center went, jump over to this great article from the Times of Israel! They give a wonderful description of what it feels like to be in a room with one of the holograms.

But how do holograms even work?

What’s the process of making this interactive preservation of history? How would we actually be able to feel like they’re actually in the room with us in the future? Here’s SciShow with a fun explanation…

Via: SciShow  2

Is it possible this ability to personally connect to history could make schooling more effective?

Will people become more interested and pay closer attention to what happened when they’re faced with those who experienced it? And will we truly take into account these lessons learned from past generations and apply them to our lives?

History may end up feeling closer than ever before because of this advanced technology. This is an interesting thought, but will it be good in practice?


About a year after we first published this article, a wonderful piece was created by filmmaker Evvy Eisen. It is brilliant in its elegant simplicity. Thank you to journalist Larry Bensky for passing this on to us!

Multiply By 6 Million from Evvy Eisen on Vimeo.

In the end, this work will have the same outcome as the holographic work at the Illinois Holocaust Museum: honoring the memory of those lost and preserving the great lessons learned for humanity.

Keep yourself open!

– Sam

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world” — Robin Williams

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  1. “116 Cameras.” Vimeo. The New York Times, Nov. 2017. Web. 17 Jan. 2018. <https://vimeo.com/240741677>.
  2. “How to Make a Hologram.” YouTube. SciShow, 16 June 2016. Web. 17 Jan. 2018. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WluyY2JqPU>.

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.