Speaking (History & Museums)



Idioms & Expressions:

history buff (noun, refers to a person who is very interested in history)

My uncle is a history buff who often watching documentaries.

make history (a verb that describes famous actions someone has taken)

They made history as the first team to come back from a 25 point deficit and win the Super Bowl.


go down in history (an expression that is used to describe how someone is remembered)

She went down in history as the first female president of the country.


past behavior indicates future performance (an expression that means that you can tell how a person will act based on looking at how they have behaved before)


history is written by the victors (an expression that means whoever wins a war and seizes power will then the story of what happened)


history repeats itself (an expression that means that people and groups tend to do the same things over and over)


on the wrong side of history (an expression with a negative connotation that describes people who did things that are unpopular now)

The Nazis did not know that one day they would be on the wrong side of history.


be history (an expression that means someone or something being destroyed or beaten)

We beat the other team. They’re history!


and the rest is history (an expression used to refer to common knowledge at the end of a story. It means “and you all know what happened next)

Then John asked Kate to marry him, and the rest is history.


Part I: Group Discussions:

  1. Do you like (to learn about) history?

History is actually my favorite subject. I try to read up on it as often as possible – I go to historychannel.com every day and look at “This Day In History,” which is a feature that tells you what happened on this date in years past.

  1. What historical event do you find most interesting?

I can’t think of one in particular, but for some reason I like reading about wars. I think military history is pretty interesting, because it explains a lot about our world today and why it is the way it is.

  1. Do you think history is important?

History is crucially important because I think it helps you understand humanity and the way people act. There is an old quote that says “Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it.”

  1. Do you like to watch programs on TV about history?

I do, but I don’t have a TV right now. So, I usually watch documentaries on YouTube if I have time to do so.

  1. How (or, from where) do you get information about history?

As I said, all my information usually comes from the internet. Whether that’s from a YouTube or a History Channel site doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that you’re learning.

Part II: Individual Presentations:

Describe a historic event. You should say:

What it was

            When and where it happened

            Who took part in the event

And explain why you think it was important.

I like learning about the JFK assassination. This may be a common answer, but I think so many people are interested in it because it’s a legitimately fascinating event. John F. Kennedy was probably the most famous and powerful man in the world when he was killed in 1963, and history changed as a result of his death. What makes this assassination so captivating is that it’s pretty clear that there is more to the situation than the government is telling us. There is much evidence that doesn’t quite agree with the official narrative of the event – that one man acted alone to kill the president. But since we’ll never know what truly happened, we just have to be content with our hypotheses and theories.

Part III: Class Discussion

  1. Which way is better for learning history? Through reading books or visiting museums?

Museums are probably better for learning because they’re more interactive, visual, and allow you to sort of wander between exhibits, rather than reading everything in order, like you have to do with a book.

  1. Do major cities in your country all have museums?

Definitely. I think almost major city in the world has museums. It’s a natural instinct for humans to collect things and try to remember their history and their culture.

  1. Will current things be exhibited in future museums?

Well, of course. Even things from ten years ago are in museums today. For example, the first model of the iPod is in the Smithsonian museum, I think.

  1. Can individuals build museums?

They can and they do. Many people, if they have enough money, open private museums in their homes to show off art or other memorabilia that they find interesting.

  1. What is the best way to show life from two thousand years ago in museums?

Well, you have to figure out the most accurate information from that time period, and then try to present it in an interesting or compelling way that engages guests to the museum. If you don’t have a particular item, then you can show guests what it looks like with an illustration or a video.