The epistemological concept of perspective meets all the conditions set by Meyer and Land (2003, 2006) to be considered a threshold concept for history learning. Following this initial hypothesis, this paper analyses the concept and the ways in which it constitutes a threshold: grasping perspective not only transforms one’s understanding of history, but it is also necessary for many aspects of historical thinking. Yet grappling with perspective is no easy feat, since understanding it requires the learner to confront other deeply rooted concepts and beliefs. Accordingly, the article explains how naive realism and the engrained epistemological tradition embodied in the expression ‘facts first’ make it difficult to understand history through perspective. Finally, a four-part model outlining different ways of understanding perspective is proposed, thus providing a framework within which we can think about what it means to cross the threshold from naive realism to a perspectivist vision of history.