Is the exploration of history worthwhile without practical applications?

People say that travel has positive value. Does learning about men and women long dead, civilizations now extinct, nations defunct, battles forgotten, technologies superseded, and so on have any value? And is the value inherent (as some claim seeing a Flemish oil painting, wandering in a Romanesque cathedral or listening to a Bach cantata are), or should we shut out the past and concentrate on 'problem solving' and 'the challenges of the future'....?

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