Watching The Detectives Investigate History

Watching The Detectives Investigate History

There’s good news for anyone with a bit of memorabilia-such as an old map or photo-that has left them with more questions than answers.

A critically acclaimed television show about to enter its fourth season asks viewers to submit story ideas. The show-PBS’ “History Detectives”-applies the latest forensic technology and old-fashioned, pavement-pounding detective work to lift the lid on intriguing artifacts and objects, family legends and local folklore in cities and small towns across America.

Because it uses cutting-edge technology to uncover the history behind homes and heirlooms, the show has been described as “CSI” meets “Antiques Roadshow.” Rather than assigning a monetary value, this show traces and verifies the lineage of beloved objects and places.

Each one-hour episode of this PBS series examines three compelling attempts to uncover the truth behind a bit of history that we think we know.

In the past the show has investigated topics ranging from interesting trivia about the possible inspiration of one of America’s best-loved animated characters, to shocking revelations about illustrations that may have helped persuade America to fight the Nazis in World War II.

The show’s fourth season is now in production and its producers are asking viewers to submit story ideas. There are no age restrictions on who can submit an idea, and it can come from an individual or a group, such as a family or school class.

The main rule for the submission is that there has to be a tangible physical item, such as a map, photo or family keepsake, that ties the story together.

The producers emphasize that they are interested in both historical items, such as deeds, weapons or portraits, and items with more of a pop-culture bent.

For example, one of the more popular segments during the show’s third season was an investigation of a toy collector’s figurine of a mouse that some say was the inspiration behind the Mickey Mouse character.

Another segment focused on a map of a World War I battlefield that offered detailed warnings about what to do in case of a gas attack. In addition to being a relic of a key battle where U.S. soldiers routed the enemy, the document induced the investigators to delve into the origins of chemical warfare.