With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the AHA partnered with Fairleigh Dickinson University to develop and implement a national survey to assess public perceptions of, and engagement with, the discipline of history and the past. The 40-question survey explores the public’s definition of the term “history,” where audiences access history, which sources of history are perceived to be reliable, their historical learning experiences, attitudes toward historical revision, correlations between civic engagement and an interest in history, and the perceived value of history. The report provides as much survey data as possible for these topics, in a user-friendly format including over 150 charts illustrating our results. Complete raw survey data are available for download for those wanting to explore these topics in more depth.

Suggested citation: Peter Burkholder and Dana Schaffer, History, the Past, and Public Culture: Results from a National Survey (Washington, DC: American Historical Association, 2021).

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Historical Association, or its members.

The authors acknowledge the generous financial support provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, without which this study would not have been possible. Additional seed funding came from the provost’s office of Fairleigh Dickinson University.


Download the Report and Data

Download a PDF version of History, the Past, and Public Culture: Results from a National Survey. The copyright is held by the American Historical Association.

Download the complete weighted dataset (users will need SPSS to access the data). The codebook and description of how to use the data, along with details on the sampling, questionnaire design, data collection, processing, and weighting, can be found in the Ipsos Methodology Report.

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