A panoramic photo of the Baltimore Skyline
Visit Baltimore

Breakout Sessions, Lectures & Tours

2023 National Teacher Institute

Schedule and speaker lineup are subject to change.
American Battlefield Trust Event

Keynote Sessions:

How History Can Help Us Make Sense of The Contemporary Moment

We are living in chaotic times - a 24-hour news cycle that drives disinformation and misinformation about pandemics, immigration, political violence, election sabotage, and war. It is hard for adults, let alone students, to know what to believe, and to determine what is unprecedented and what has occurred before. History offers crucial skills to decipher fact from fiction, place the challenges of our current moment in historical context, and offer helpful lessons from past crises. Critically, history also reveals what is actually unprecedented and why it matters.

Session Type: Keynote Lecture
Presenter: Dr. Lindsay M. Chervinsky, Southern Methodist University
Subject Areas: Classroom Resources, Critical Thinking, Student Engagement, Technology in the Classroom
Time Period: Revolutionary War Era, Modern US History 
Grade Level(s): All

More keynote sessions to be announced

General Sessions:

Beyond American Borders: The War of 1812 in its Global Context

Often forgotten or mislabeled as the "Second American War for Independence," the War of 1812 is one of the most misunderstood and overlooked chapters in American history. The conflict, too, was a small component of a much larger war raging across half of the globe. Join Kristopher White as he unpacks on of the most fascinating eras in modern history. How did the Napoleonic Wars impact the early American republic? How did Great Britain wage war on the continent and in the United States? Who were the personalities involved in the war? What was the outcome and why does it matter to us today? We've got battles, politics, personalities, human interest stories, and more in this this crash course of the Napoleonic Era and the War of 1812.

Session Type: Lecture
Presenter: Kristopher D. White, American Battlefield Trust 
Subject Areas: Classroom Resources, Economics, Geography, Military History, Personalities, Placed-Based Learning, Political History 
Time Period: Early Republic, War of 1812, Antebellum Era,
Grade Level(s): Middle School, High School

Making History Relatable (and cool!)

To many students, the people of the past seem like flat, colorless abstractions, but (as you well know), it needn’t be that way!  The past is bursting with fascinating people, places, things, events and more!  Join the American Battlefield Trust’s chief historian Garry Adelman for a lively session that explores the cool and relatable sides of history—and the easy entrance ramps to grab the attention of your students.

Session Type: Lecture
Presenter: Garry Adelman, American Battlefield Trust
Subject Areas: Classroom Resources, Place-Based Learning, Student Engagement, Technology in the Classroom
Time Period: Revolutionary War Era, Civil War Era 
Grade Level(s): All

More sessions to be announced


Breakout Sessions:

An Educational Adventure! Personalizing History for our Students

Have you ever wondered as an educator: How do I get my students to care about History? How can I get their attention? If you have, this session is for you! Our session will take us to the fields of Western Maryland and a small town in Southcentral Pennsylvania. We will research several American Civil War primary and secondary sources from a sampling of soldiers that did not expect to go from common United States citizens to our history books, newspapers, and webpages!! Through our educational adventure, we will try to find the underlying stories that should lead our students to empathize and personalize our American History. To conclude the session, we will discuss how we can preserve these hallowed fields so that our students and the next generation of Americans can explore, interpret, and awaken to our American History. I am looking forward to having you come along on our Educational Adventure at the 2023 American Battlefield Trust Teacher’s Institute.

Session Type: Workshop
Presenter: Bob Rinehart, Southampton Middle School (MD)
Subject Areas: American History, Field Trip Planning, Placed Based Learning, Primary Documents, Project Based Learning, Student Engagement
Time Periods: Civil War Era Grade Levels: Middle School, High School


Arlington National Cemetery: When the End is the Beginning of Memory 

Learn about the intensely personal story behind the order to turn Arlington Estate into Arlington National Cemetery. Ponder the life stories of some of the Civil War soldiers buried here. Observe and explore questions about historical memory and memorialization in Arlington National Cemetery over the years. While Arlington National Cemetery will be the historical focus, the inquiry-based resources used and shared in this program can be adapted to any national cemetery with the goal of guiding students to understand the cost of liberty and remember the lives of those who have guarded our country. 

Session Type: Lecture/Moderated Discussion 
Presenter: Sarah Kay Bierle, American Battlefield Trust 
Subject Areas: Classroom Resources, American Civil War, Historical Memory, Civics 
Time Period: Civil War Era, Modern US History 
Grade Level(s): Middle School, High School  


Boston, Baltimore, and Historical Memory of 1861

This breakout session is to link the story of the 1861 “Pratt Street Riots,” with the 6th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment’s experience in Baltimore in 1898 at the beginning of the Spanish-American War, and the “Reconciliation” aspects of the Jim Crow era. Using documents, images, and public memorials/art will enable participants to better help students make historical connections and understand the distinctions between history and memory. Presenter will share digital resources with those in attendance.

Session Type: Lecture/Moderated Discussion 
Presenter: Richard Houston, 2019 American Battlefield Trust Teacher of the Year
Subject Areas: Geography, Historical Memory, Military History, Public History, Race Relations 
Time Period: Civil War Era, Reconstruction Era, Jim Crow South
Grade Level(s): Middle School, High School


Case Studies in Hard History: Using Monuments, Memorials, Imagery, and Case Studies to Engage with Difficult Topics 

Session description coming soon.

Session Type: Lecture/Moderated Discussion
Presenter: Kristopher D. White, American Battlefield Trust 
Subject Areas: Classroom Resources, Critical Thinking, Inquiry Learning, Memory Studies, Placed-Based Learning, Primary Resources, World History
Time Period: Early 20th Century, Modern History 
Grade Level(s): Middle School, High School


Caught in the Crossfire: The Adams County Historical Society 

On the afternoon of July 1, 1863, Rebel forces captured the town of Gettysburg after heavy fighting, and held it for the next two-and-a-half days. Those who chose to remain in the town and weather the storm were trapped in their houses, and many sought the safety of their cellars. Join Adams County Historical Society Director of Education Timothy H. Smith as we discuss the recollections and memories of the civilians who were caught in the crossfire.

Session Type: Lecture/Moderated Discussion
Presenter: Tim Smith, Adams County Historical Society (PA)
Subject Areas: Classroom Resources, Hands-on-History, Museum Studies, Placed-Based Learning, Social History, Student Engagement 
Time Period: Antebellum Era, Civil War Era
Grade Level(s): All


Command Decisions That Affected the War of 1812

Leaders of any organization, whether they lead a Fortune 500 company, a unit in the armed forces, a school district, or a classroom of students, makes decisions in the heat of the moment that ripple through the organization, either for the benefit of the people ­or to their detriment. The Battle of Baltimore is a study in command decisions on both sides of the battlefield, each of which became one step toward the ultimate cessation of hostilities and the true independence of the United States.

This session will be a study of decisions made by military commanders and politicians. The factors that led to these decisions, while made in the context of the war, can be seen in today’s leaders, as can the short and long-term outcomes.

By studying past decisions, today’s leaders can appreciate the tremendous impact that one oversight, one slip, or hesitation can make on an entire company or, in the case of the Battle of Baltimore, two nations. 

The presentation will include an interactive map, bios on the decision-makers, War of 1812 panels, two mannequins, and (possibly) a War of 1812 Reenactor.

Session Type: Workshop
Presenter: Dr. Julie Shively, Maryland National Guard Command Historian 
Subject Areas: Classroom Resources, Leadership, Military History 
Time Period: War of 1812
Grade Level(s): All


From Boots to Bonnets-the Civil War lady’s guide to getting dressed in the 1860s

Getting dressed during the 1860s was quite an endeavor- from corsets and hoops skirts to knowing when, why, and how various garments were worn, there was a method to the madness!  Join fashion historian, Courtney Cauthon (also known as The Barefoot Historian) while she sets Victorian etiquette aside and gets dressed in front of a crowd. 

Session Type: Workshop
Presenter: Courtney Cauthon, M.A., The Barefoot Historian
Subject Areas: Classroom Resources, Cultural History, General American History, Hands-on-History, Material Culture, Social History  
Time Period: Antebellum Era, Civil War Era
Grade Level(s): All


For the Enjoyment, Education, and Inspiration of This and Future Generations: Engaging Students on the Civil War and Relevancy at National Parks 

The Civil War reverberates a century and a half after its ending. Its legacy remains hotly debated at public spaces and in the classroom. The National Park Service (NPS) administers dozens of historic sites across the United States, including Civil War battlefields, memorials, and monuments. This session provides a template for educators to engage and make meaningful, relevant connections to history at NPS sites.

Session Type: Workshop
Presenter: Steve Phan, National Park Service
Subject Areas: African-American History, Classroom Resources, Leadership, Memory Studies 
Time Period: Civil War Era 
Grade Level(s): All


Jamestown Rediscovery!

Jamestown is one of the best known names in early American history, but the history itself is not always well-known to students or educators. Through amazing artifacts, the Historic Jamestown Rediscovery website, and inquiry learning, students will learn where these artifacts were found and who might have owned them.

This lesson always engages students and gives them an amazing portal to the world of 1607. It also reinforces their ability to write a summary using the RACE template.   Students will relate to the early settlers of Jamestown by understanding them through the items they had in the early 1600s. There are 14 categories of artifacts, with several artifacts included in each category. Some artifacts are ancient, yet some are identical to today’s stuff.  Students are especially captivated by the dice and other items people used to entertain themselves. Learn how to bring this history directly into your classroom.

Session Type: Workshop
Presenter: Kathy Misek, Cleburne ISD (TX)
Subject Areas: Classroom Resources, Inquiry Learning, Memory Studies, Native-American History, Student Engagement, Virtual Learning
Time Period: Colonial Era
Grade Level(s): Elementary School, Middle School


Lessons from the “American Bastille”: Fort McHenry During the Civil War 

Fort McHenry’s role in securing Maryland for the Union during the Civil War was both vital and remarkably controversial. The harsh measures taken to preserve order in Baltimore and prevent the secession of Maryland and destruction of Washington led the fort to become a symbol of U.S. military strength and resolve, as well as a symbol of oppression. By exploring the Constitutional questions surrounding enumerated powers and executive authority, teachers can facilitate dialogues addressing past and contemporary issues of creating a balance between the preservation of civil liberties and safeguarding national security.  

Session Type: Workshop
Presenter: Shannon McLucas, National Park Service
Subject Areas: Classroom Resources, Inquiry Learning, Memory Studies, Political Science, Student Engagement
Time Period: Civil War Era
Grade Level(s): All


"Opened but not yet dedicated":  The 1922 Lincoln Memorial Dedication

The Lincoln Memorial is a familiar symbol, but there are some fascinating stories that go beyond the statue, columns, and speeches. This session explores the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial. President Warren Harding, at the 1922 Memorial dedication, said “this memorial…is less for Abraham Lincoln than for those of us today, and for those who follow after.” Explore this quotation about memorializing Abraham Lincoln and consider why one newspaper claimed that the memorial was "opened but not yet dedicated" after the event.

Session Type: Workshop
Presenter: Bethany Bagent, National Park Service 
Subject Areas: American History, Classroom Resources, Inquiry Learning, Memory Studies, Place-Based Learning, Student Engagement
Time Period: Civil War Era, Early 20th Century, Civil Rights Era
Grade Level(s): All


Penmanship and Prose: Analyzing Civil War Correspondence from Multiple Perspectives 

Between Home and the Front: Civil War Letters of the Walters Family (Indiana University Press, 2022), edited by Lynn Heidelbaugh and Thomas J. Paone, presents primary sources and scholarship on the roles individual correspondents and the Post Office Department played in creating and protecting the personal and national networks essential for keeping the Union in contact during the American Civil War. The workshop session, “Penmanship and Prose: Analyzing Civil War Correspondence from Multiple Perspectives,” is an opportunity for educators and scholars to delve deeper into the social and emotional worlds of young people during a time of national conflict as recorded in their personal correspondence. With particular focus on the perspective of Rachel (Ward) Walters and the networks she established and maintained through the post, participants will explore themes such as patriotism and emotions on the home front, historical analysis skills, including reading and transcribing 19th-century cursive writing, and teaching strategies designed to help students read, write, and discuss history. Through their exploration, participants will be able to create an individualized actionable plan for how to bring the real work and new research of historians to their classrooms.

Session Type: Workshop
Presenters: Lynn Heidelbaugh, Thomas Paone, and Phoebe Sherman; National Postal Museum
Subject Areas: Inquiry Learning, Primary Resources, Student Engagement  
Time Period: Civil War Era
Grade Level(s): All


Teaching Civil War Medicine at Gettysburg's Seminary Ridge 

By 1863, Gettysburg’s first permanent Lutheran Seminary building had been standing for three decades as a home and workplace for students, faculty, and staff. Yet as the battle began, one veteran remembered, the historic structure “changed from the halls of learning to a scene of bloodshed and carnage” as hundreds of wounded soldiers sought refuge and care within its walls. Discover and experience the on-site and online educational Civil War medical programming available today at Seminary Ridge Museum and Education Center, which now occupies that building, allowing modern students and educators to encounter the past at Gettysburg’s earliest battlefield hospital.

Session Type: Workshop
Presenter: Codie Eash, Seminary Ridge Museum and Education Center
Subject Areas: Classroom Resources, Medical History, Placed-Based Learning
Time Period: Civil War Era
Grade Level(s): All


Telling a Battlefield Story with Storymaps

Storymaps are an exciting educational technology where teachers can combine photos, stories, maps, videos, documents, and other materials into one online interactive product to help tell the story of a battlefield in a way that students can relate to

After in this session, participants will be able to:

  • Understand Storymap basics and how they can be used in the classroom
  • Gain a practical understanding of how to create custom interactive Storymaps for use in the classroom
  • Explore resources that can be used for the creation of Storymaps 
  • Learn how to help students create their own Storymap project in the classroom setting
  • Interact with original Storymaps created by history students and teachers 

Session Type: Workshop 
Presenter: Robert B. Hulette and Dr. Stacy Curry-Johnson, Vanderbilt University 
Subject Areas: Classroom Resources, Geography, Student Engagement, Technology in the Classroom 
Time Period: Civil War Era 
Grade Level(s): All 


The Power of Place

What makes history different from fiction? Both can tell a great story, but history ties us to a specific place. In this workshop we will explore the power of place in teaching American history. Using online resources and tech tools, you can use place to help make history come alive to your students even if you cannot physically leave the classroom. Special focus will be give on resources local to Baltimore, specifically related to the Civil War and War of 1812. In addition, digital resources will be available to help you create your own engaging place-based activities.

Session Type: Workshop 
Presenter: Matthew Young, Perry Hall Middle School (MD)
Subject Areas: Classroom Resources, Geography, Placed-Based Learning, Student Engagement, Technology in the Classroom 
Time Period: War of 1812, Civil War Era 
Grade Level(s): Middle School, High School

Three Brothers: A Case Study of Privilege in Plantation Society

Hampton National Historic Site was first and foremost a plantation that relied on the labor of slavery for monumental profits. So much so that Hampton, with roughly 350 people enslaved at one time, and over 500 enslaved throughout its history, was the third largest plantation in the state of Maryland. Most of the enslaved people at Hampton planation were born into their roles, but what happens when bloodlines cross and enslaved and free men in power are related? Through examining the story of three men, all in different classes in Hampton's plantation society, yet all related, we can truly begin to understand the power structure and privilege that existed in the Antebellum South.

Session Type: Workshop 
Presenter: Jimmy Horn, National Park Service
Subject Areas: African American Studies, Classroom Resources, Placed-Based Learning, Primary Resources 
Time Period: War of 1812, Antebellum Civil War, Civil War Era 
Grade Level(s): Middle School, High School


Using History as a Catalyst to Develop the Leadership Roles of our Students

During this session, attendees will learn how a passion for history is used in a middle school setting to engage students in developing their leadership skills.

Session Type: Workshop
Presenter: JanetViana Clarke-Green, Benjamin Tasker Middle School
Subject Areas: Character Development, Leadership, Student Engagement
Time Period: TBD
Grade Level(s): All


Saturday Tours:

The "American Rome": A Tour of Washington D.C. and Its Monuments

Visit some of the most iconic sites of our nation’s capital with a walking tour of Washington, D.C. We’ll start in front of the White House, walk over to the Mall, and take in the  World War II Memorial. Then visit the memorials for the Vietnam and Korean Wars, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Washington Monument. After lunch, we’ll visit Arlington National Cemetery. Along the way, tour guides Chris Mackowski and Kevin Pawlak will touch on history from the Revolution through the Civil War. Engage with history into and through the Civil Rights Movement, the tumultuous 1960s, and the great military conflicts of the 20th Century. (Expect a lot of walking!)

Lunch is included with this tour.


The Gettysburg Stuff Your Students Will Love the Most!

A battlefield tour can inspire critical thought, make someone appreciate the past, and maybe even spark a lifelong interest in a particular subject, but how can you bring Gettysburg—the place, the stories, the meaning—back to your students? What elements of a battlefield tour can work in your classrooms or ball fields?  From strategy and tactics to soldiers and suffering, to photos and folklore and more, this tour will use Gettysburg’s famous places and Trust resources to help bring the battlefield to your students.

Lunch is included with this tour.

The Rocket’s Red Glare: Fort McHenry and the Star Spangled Banner

With the abdication of Napoleon in the spring of 1814, Great Britain refocused its efforts on the conflict raging in North America. The British high command decided to launch a major offensive in the Chesapeake. After landing in southern Maryland, a British army routed an American force at Bladensburg before burning Washington, D.C. With the initiative firmly in hand, the British set their sights on Baltimore, the third-largest port in the United States. The coming battle would help determine the outcome of the war and give birth to the American National Anthem.

Join Dan Davis, the Trust’s Senior Education Manager and Emerging Revolutionary War historian Phillip S. Greenwalt as we explore the Battle of Baltimore (and Phill's hometown). We'll visit North Point, Fort McHenry, and other sites related to one of the most famous campaigns from the War of 1812, America’s forgotten conflict.

Lunch is included with this tour.

Sunday Tours:

"By the Dawn's Early Light": Fort McHenry

Take a half-day and visit one of the most famous sites in American history—Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. Join National Park Service staff as they peel back the layers of history. The story of the fort is more than one battle and our National Anthem. Learn about the life of the fort and its impact on local and national history.

Lunch is NOT included with this tour.


Hampton: The Story of America

Once possibly the largest private home in America by 1790, the Hampton mansion serves as a grand example of late-Georgian architecture in America. Hampton is also the story of its people, as the estate evolved through the actions of the Ridgely family, enslaved African Americans, European indentured servants, and paid laborers within a nation struggling to define its own concept of freedom. Explore the home and grounds with the staff of the National Park Service.

Lunch is NOT included with this tour. 

The B&O Railroad Museum

All aboard for this tour of one of Baltimore's most popular museums. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad played a vital role during the Civil War and was one of the largest railroads on the East Coast. Explore this amazing museum with a guided tour, and then take some time to take it all in yourself.

Lunch is NOT included with this tour.