We show theoretically how a driven harmonic oscillator can be used as a quantum simulator for the non-Markovian damped harmonic oscillator. In the general framework, our results demonstrate the possibility to use a closed system as a simulator for open quantum systems. The quantum simulator is based on sets of controlled drives of the closed harmonic oscillator with appropriately tailored electric field pulses. The non-Markovian dynamics of the damped harmonic oscillator is obtained by using the information about the spectral density of the open system when averaging over the drives of the closed oscillator. We consider single trapped ions as a specific physical implementation of the simulator, and we show how the simulator approach reveals physical insight into the open system dynamics, e.g., the characteristic quantum mechanical non-Markovian oscillatory behavior of the energy of the damped oscillator, usually obtained by the non-Lindblad-type master equation, can have a simple semiclassical interpretation.