One way that I have found to be effective is to experience it. It takes a lot of time and effort and in some cases may take some money, but to go to a place and experience it is unforgettable. For the industrial revolution you could find a (very old) factory of some type in your area and ask for a tour of the plant. Ask questions about how things used to be done and how the revolution benefited or hurt the business, workers, an community as a whole.
If you are learning about battles, go to a fort and see what the soldiers saw. Just the physical perspective can be memorable.
Go to a senior citizen center and visit the oldest people there and talk to them about what it was like for them groin up and what the events were that shaped our country that they remember personally. You'll make friends in the process and history will com alive!