Breakout & Keynote Sessions

Schedule and speaker lineup are subject to change.

Keynote Sessions:

What is the American Revolution?: 250 Years of Memory and Commemoration

Session description coming soon.

More keynote sessions to be announced.

Breakout Sessions:

Abraham Lincoln as a Writer

Abraham Lincoln certainly wrote some of the most memorable words of any American president--indeed, of any American author. But how do we know he was a great writer? Most of us accept Lincoln's reputation, but in this workshop, we'll spend some time with his actual words. What constitutes "good writing," and how does Lincoln's work fit those criteria? We'll look at Lincoln's most famous writings to better understand why they've endured and why they still speak to us today. 

Session Type: Workshop
Presenter: Dr. Chris Mackowski, St. Bonaventure University 
Subject Areas: Cross-Curricular, Memory Studies, Presidential History, Primary Documents
Time Periods: Antebellum Civil War, Civil War Era 
Grade Levels: All


Civil War Medicine and STEAM in the Classroom

At the turn of the 19th century, the medical field was advancing far beyond the realms of the four humors and bleeding through the increased establishment of medical schools and the controversial practice of dissection. Yet, even the medical advancements of the time could not prepare medical personnel for the Civil War. More than 600,000 casualties over the Civil War created chaos, carnage, and challenges that ultimately propelled the medical field to the advanced practice that many of us take for granted today. In this moderated discussion, learn how you can tie the field of medicine into your history lessons using STEAM and develop different ideas for activities and discussion to make lessons engaging and relevant to your students.

Session Type: Workshop
Presenter: Paige Gibbons Backus, Prince William County (VA)
Subject Areas: Cross-Curricular, Medical History, Primary Documents, STEAM, Student Engagement
Time Period: Civil War Era 
Grade Levels: All


Digital Tools: Locating Free Online Source Materials for Your Classroom

Session description coming soon. 

Lincoln and Ford's Theater

Session description coming soon. 

Immersive Museum Experiences at Gettysburg

Session description coming soon. 

Leveraging Digitized Archives for the Classroom

History educators are always looking for documents to bring their classes to life. Recent efforts to digitize government, university, and private archives have opened many doors for historical researchers. Educators can also leverage these more available archives to find engaging and relatable primary documents for classroom use. This session will showcase several accessible archival databases, explore how archival materials might be used in classroom activities for all ages, and provide examples of activities from different historical eras that use archival materials.

Session Type: Workshop Session
Presenter: Neil Chatelain, Lone Star College
Subject Areas: Classroom Resources, Technology in the Classroom, Primary Sources
Time Period: Revolutionary War Era, Antebellum Civil War, Civil War Era, Modern US 
Grades Level(s): All  


Making The Connection: Railroads during the American Civil War

In less than 50 years, railroads in the United States sprang from concepts on business charters to a significant means of transportation. The Civil War further transformed and complicated how American citizens viewed tracks and trains. Railroads became targets of destruction, vital supply links, part of medical evacuation plans, and a quick way to transport troops to battle areas. Come and take a journey through history and primary sources as we explore how railroads influenced the war, saved lives, and represented changing social boundaries.  

Session Type: Breakout Session
Presenter: Sarah Kay Bierle, American Battlefield Trust
Subject Areas: Technology in the Classroom, Innovation, Primary Sources
Time Period: Civil War Era
Grades Level(s): All  

Mapping the Past: The Stories that Maps Tell

Once closely guarded state secrets, maps are valuable primary and secondary documents that help to tell the story of humanity. From migration patterns to battlefield troop movements, maps are important tools for every historian and teacher. In this power session, participants will take a crash course in cartography, walk through the evolution of map-making, and learn how to unpack the stories told by maps using a variety of case studies. Discover how to better utilize (digital, animated, and static) maps in your classroom and beyond.

Session Type: Workshop
Presenter: Kristopher D. White, American Battlefield Trust 
Subject Areas: American History, Classroom Engagement, Classroom Resources, Place Based Learning, Primary Documents, Technology in the Classroom, World History   
Time Periods: Ancient History, Revolutionary War Era, Civil War Era, Early 20th-Century, Modern US History  
Grade Levels: All 

October Thunder: The Artillery at Yorktown

Following a summer campaign, British Lt. Gen. Charles, Lord Cornwallis assumed a position at Yorktown in August 1781. With a combined force Continental and French force, Gen. George Washington moved rapidly to encircle Cornwallis. When the siege opened in early October, Washington relied heavily on his artillery, rather than his infantry, to reduce the British defenses. The performance of Washington’s guns ultimately paved the way to victory.

Join Dan Davis, the Trust’s Senior Education Manager, for a discussion of the impact of the artillery in one of the most crucial chapters of the American Revolution. Learn about its organization, employment, and the critical figures who directed this arm in the campaign that achieved independence for the United States.

Session Type: Lecture
Presenter: Daniel T. Davis, American Battlefield Trust
Subject Areas: Military History, Placed Based Learning
Time Periods: Revolutionary War Era 
Grade Levels: Middle School, High School


Podcasts, Playlists, and Reaction Vids: Accessing Revolutionary War Era Music with Digital Media

The study of the Revolutionary War in the middle and high school grades largely centers around primary sources, historical facts, and visual and material culture (paintings and objects). Yet, a vibrant aural culture existed on the homefront and in the ranks of the armies of both sides. By utilizing modern technology and ways in which we access music today, this presentation will connect 21st-century students to the rich musical landscape of the 18th century. 

Session Type: Workshop
Presenter: Dan Welch, Emerging Revolutionary War 
Subject Areas: Cross-Curricular, Classroom Resources, Material Culture, Technology in the Classroom, Presidential History, Primary Documents
Time Periods: Revolutionary War Ear
Grade Levels: All

Teachers: Revolutionary Learners

Are you a teacher interested in transformative learning, engaging discussions, and historical excursion studies? This session will go into the various opportunities on the campus of Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, as well as how to incorporate session content into classroom lessons. Teachers will experience the destination, educational learning, and resources Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge has to offer.

Session Type: Workshop
Presenter: Dr. Jeff Scott, Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge
Subject Areas: Classroom Resources, Cross-Curricular, Student Engagement
Time Periods: Antebellum Civil War, Civil War Era 
Grade Levels: All

Visualizing Emancipation: Helping Students Answer the Question “Who Freed the Slaves?”

This session will examine one of the most popular questions in Civil War history: “Who freed the slaves?” Utilizing digital maps, online archives, and popular culture, we will delve into this classic quandary and learn how to help students understand the complex series of events that brought about the end of slavery in America. We will analyze the actions of several key groups, including politicans, among them President Abraham Lincoln, abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass, and Union soldiers (Black and white). We will also discuss the role that enslaved people played in their own emancipation story—giving students the opportunity to see how individual actions helped to shape the course of history.

Session Type: Workshop
Presenter: Cecily Zander, Texas Women's University 
Subject Areas: Classroom Resources, Inquiry Learning, Primary Documents, Technology in the Classroom
Time Periods: Antebellum Civil War, Civil War Era 
Grade Levels: All

We Fought at Gettysburg: The Wounded-The Caregivers-The Honored Dead

This presentation follows twelve soldiers of the 17th Connecticut through the battle of Gettysburg. The accounts portray the range of their personal experiences. Through the words of these men, we see the battle through their eyes. These men fought for their lives, lost friends, and suffered themselves on this great battlefield. From them, and their sacrifices, we in the 21st century inherited great social, medical, and technological advances. Because of their sacrifices we understand the hidden costs of war and not all wounds are visible. The lives, service, and sacrifice of these twelve citizen soldiers had direct consequences for our generation and beyond. Their generation is connected to ours and to our future. Honor history; remember them.

Social, medical, technology advances illustrated from the lives of twelve citizen soldiers of the 17th Connecticut discussed in the program:

  • The Letterman System for disaster preparation, evacuation, and mass casualty situations.
  • Treatment and beginning of social reform for the physically disabled.
  • A surviving soldier’s contribution after the war created modern x-ray technology.
  • As a result of the war female nursing becomes a trained and honorable profession.
  • The hidden costs of war on the human mind in those without physical wounds begin to be realized.

Technology based research tools and classroom strategies can be discussed prior to, or after, the main presentation.

Session Type: Workshop
Presenter: Carolyn Ivanoff, Author & Former Teacher
Subject Areas: Cross-Curricular, Medical History, Memory Studies, Primary Documents, Technology in the Classroom
Time Periods: Antebellum Civil War, Civil War Era, Modern US
Grade Levels: All