I believe that learning history is really important, although the way it's taught in school could be much improved.
Saying that history is not important must mean that the present is also not important because today will be history tomorrow. I don't see that there can be a cut-off point where events that have taken place cease to be important and can be forgotten just because they happened a long time ago.
Who could be the judge of where that point is?
History helps us to make decisions that affect the future as we learn from past events. (Or should do).
I believe it is human nature to want to know what has happened before; only a non-thinker could possibly live life in the present and the future - neither knowing or caring about the past.
I'm becoming quite impressed with imfeduptoo's thinking. I agree with everything said in the post. I'll just add a few points of my own.
There's a difference between learning history as a school subject, and learning it out of interest. Apart from the fact that history as a school subject can be extremely boring (as most of the comments reveal) there's also the matter of focus.
When it's for school, the topics are selected by others. The questions are for the purpose of passing the exams. And, most important, the priority will be given to the history of the particular country where it is being taught. It's quite obvious that the history of some countries is vastly more interesting than that of others.
Then there's the matter of learning history as history, and looking up facts on the Internet. History is more than just the sum of facts on events and people. There's a vast area where it's more about ideas behind the events, than the events themselves.
But, of course, history at that level cannot be taught at the school level. And even the higher level history must begin with the facts, before the ideas behind the facts can be discussed. So the school level history is the drudgery; and university level history, or the studies one conducts on ones own, is the interesting part.
This is why almost all of us can remember hating history at school, and loving it in later life. When we choose to study history on our own, out of interest, we'll be selecting topics, countries, and periods which are of particular interest to us. This explains why it's so difficult to convince a school-age kid that history is interesting, or that it's useful. How can they understand this when they never get to see the interesting part?
And, finally, why exactly do we want to learn history? Along with all the reasons given in the other comments, there's the fact that it expands our consciousness. Despite the fact that we live a limited time on earth, we all think in historical terms. That is to say, the historical knowledge that we possess becomes a part of our present consciousness.
For example, if I've studied the history of philosophy, the philosophers of the past are living characters for me. What they thought is part of my thinking. Just citing the name of Plato, for instance, opens up vast areas of thought and consciousness for me. Yet, for someone who's never been exposed to his philosophy, Plato is just a name.
The deeper our awareness and knowledge of history, the greater our consciousness, and more extensive our thinking.