The Memory Palace is not your average history podcast. If you approach it as one, you’ll be disappointed. You won’t get facts and figures, sources or statistics. Instead, you’ll hear about an event or a person as if their ending wasn’t already decided. You’ll be in the moment. You’ll hear just how much things have changed, or how little they have.
Sounds pretty good, right?
Ranging in length from 5 to 20 minutes, each episode can shift unexpectedly between playfulness, hopefulness and melancholy. The show’s host, Nate DiMeo, uses his rich and engaging voice to pull you in, all backed by archive recordings and an evocative score. Always done well, the strongest episodes have all these factors working in tandem, which can be spellbinding.
Focusing on American history, you may hear of how frivolous fashions nearly drove beavers extinct, or of how, in 1910, the rich and famous of New York gathered in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel to watch a comet they thought could’ve kill us all. Or, in the most recent episode, of Edward Dwight, the man who would’ve been the first black astronaut if JFK hadn’t been assassinated. You never quite know what you’re going to get, or where things will go. If you try to do anything more complicated than drink a cup of tea or walk in a park, you’ll lose track. At least, that’s the case for me.
DiMeo makes sure that adverts are placed well. The end of an episode is always kept clear, so a sincere ending note isn’t spoiled by someone flogging you something. Having just finished its summer season, and due to return in autumn, there are currently 75 episodes for you to catch up on.