The Israelites do history by recounting the events of their previous generations. The events that led them to where they are now. The book of Nehemiah records dates and times, names, and locations. There are direct quotes and many references to God from scripture including “slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (v.17).
There is a focus on both what the people of the past did (v.16), and what God was doing and teaching and extending during those times (v,19). There are numerous references to attributes of God and praise and prayer to Him (v 32) The Israelites recount Gods faithfulness as a reminder to themselves and each other to be faithful to God in the present and future times to come (v 6-8).
Nehemiah recounts the exile with details and imagery (v 9-15), which is helpful for “reliving” the experience in a way of remembering. There is repetition of important themes and details, of God hearing them, warning them, their sin, and his forgiveness to name a few. At the end of chapter 9 Nehemiah also states the recording of documentation for future reference.
I love how the Israelites use so much imagery to describe things, especially the past so that it’s easier to remember, as if you were actually reliving the events that are described. It would be especially important to remember the mistakes that their forefathers made so that they do not repeat them and to know that God doesn’t only punish the disobedience, He also rewards their obedience and brings His people back to Himself.