Documentaries Lead to Love of History
Hours spent rethinking Guadalcanal, mentally trudging the beaches of Iwo Jima, imagining the steady thrum of the Luftwaffe—that’s some pretty heavy lifting for a little boy, even if it was all done from the quiet cool of a library.
But Kevin McNair ’13 was up to the challenge even as a kid.
"I always had kind of an interest in history, I remember being in elementary school and looking through World War II books in the library," he said. "As I grew up, I would watch History Channel documentaries with my dad about World War II. There’s just so much that has happened before now and it’s so crazy to try to wrap your head around."
The immersion and passion for all that came before him made deciding to become a History major a simple choice. "I knew going in what I needed to do and what I wanted to do," McNair said. "I knew right when I was going in I was going to focus on history and education."
And, he found kindred spirits in his professors. "The professors are really incredible; they are really passionate about the content and that really got me into it," he said.
During his time in the history department, he was able to do real research in an independent study and an internship with the department. McNair, along with several other students, were given the task of transcribing an 18th century ledger which tells the story of how Southwestern New Hampshire was settled. His job entailed not only rewriting the document word for word so that it can be accessed by the public, but deciphering the archaic handwriting and writing style.
"Just deciphering the completely different writing styles was quite an education," he said. "No one had one way of spelling one word; everyone had sort of their own different writing style and short hand how to do things, so that was definitely really interesting. It was definitely really cool seeing the names and making the connections to New Hampshire things."
McNair graduated in May 2013, but came back to Keene State for one more year to get his Master’s in special education.