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Lectures, Workshops, and Tours

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National Teacher Institute: July 12-15, 2018

Topics and speakers are subject to change.


Civil War Photo Extravaganza—with Garry Adelman 

Photos, stories, and more. Join the American Battlefield Trust's Director of History and Education for fast-paced; action-packed, journey through the Civil War, via photography. It's a presentation that you won't want to miss!


Inventing America: The Constitutional Convention of 1787—David O. Stewart 

The Constitutional Convention of 1787 was a desperate balancing act, performed under the looming shadow of a new nation that seemed to be falling apart. The people should have power, but could they be trusted? Would a strong central government leave room for the states? Why did they contrive the convoluted electoral college for electing the president? And what of the grinding compromises over slavery, America’s original sin? The leading figures, including icons like George Washington and Ben Franklin and James Madison-coupled with other,  long-forgotten figures like John Rutledge, Gouverneur Morris, and James Wilson.  Closeted together in a single room through a sultry Philadelphia summer, the delegates hammered out a government charter that embodied the best of America’s dreams, and the worst of America’s realities. 


“It’s not what or how much we teach, but how we teach it that matters”: Confronting the Legacy of History Instruction—Bruce A. Lesh

We are often told that student knowledge of history is in decline. Is this true? Is there a different narrative that should be promoted and different lessons for teachers to take from 100 years of educational data and research? 


The American Way of War: An Introduction—Kristopher D. White 

Is there one overarching way that the United States wages war? How much truth is there to the idea that Washington's Army fought scattered in the woods, behind trees and rocks, and overcame the British by utilizing less conventional tactics? Why, nearly 100 years later, were Civil War armies still utilizing 18th Century tactics? Join the American Battlefield Trust's Education Manager as we answer these questions and more. In this lecture, we will weave the idea of warfare and politics together, as we explore nearly 100 years of warfare in the United States. Learn, too, how you can integrate these ideas into your classroom and future field trips in a fun and engaging way. 


Teaching about the American Military Past: The Battle between History and Memory
Keynote Speaker Dr. Carol Reardon 

We view the past through two sets of interpretive lenses. One we call "History," which rests on the critical analysis of evidence and seeks an ideal we accept as objective truth. It is "the past as it was." The other we call "Memory," which often serves up a selective, sanitized, or  self-aggrandizing version of "the past as we wish it had been." The tension between History and Memory plays out especially powerfully in Military History, and this talk will suggest some useful ideas for classroom exercises. 



African Americans: On the Road to Freedom—Paula Gidjunis

This presentation explores the role that African Americans, both civilians, and soldiers played in gaining their own freedom during the Civil War and activities that you can use in your classroom. By looking at their actions from the battlefront to the home front, despite discrimination and facing danger, their dedication and courage will be highlighted. Included are local Philadelphia area personalities who were involved and the sites you should visit. 


"At the Hop" to "Love Train": The Philadelphia Sound & Philly Soul—Daniel Welch  

Rock'n'Roll is a purely American genre of music that has its roots in the post Civil War and Reconstruction eras. Tap your foot along and bring those air guitars with you as we trace the evolution of this genre from America's historical turning point through its musical one. This presentation will include handouts, listening examples, video clips, and lesson plans ready to implement in your classroom!


Developing A Semester or Year-Long (or extended unit) on the Civil War for High School—Terry Levering

This presentation will discuss how a complete novice to the Civil War can create a semester, year-long course, or even an extended unit on the Civil War for high school students. Topics will include how to build the course from scratch and resources for teaching a semester, year-long, or even a very long unit on the Civil War. (Note: The focus of this presentation is military history.)


Educational Adventures and Battlefield Preservation/Fundraising—Bob Rinehart 

Adventure number one will take you and your students on an interactive musical tour of several of the songs that were sung/played during the American Revolution. Analyzing the songs will let you and your students begin to see how historic events can be expressed through the music of that time and today. Adventure number two will take you and your students to the Gettysburg National Military Park. This Scavenger Hunt will guide all of you through the “Gallery” portion of the new visitor center. During this adventure, they will learn about the impact of the American Civil War on the society of 1861-1865 and the present. During our final adventure, we will discuss how Southampton Middle School (Bel Air, MD) and many other schools/teachers have raised money to help preserve America’s Civil War Battlefields. Looking forward to having you come along on our Educational Adventure at the 2018 American Batlefield Trust Teacher’s Institute.


How to Incorporate Facts About Your Local Town or County into your Civil War Discussion—Timothy H. Smith

Learn how, where, and why Civil War units were raised and how to find information about them. Using the states that sent troops to the Battle of Gettysburg as an example, participants will see some of the best practices for tying information about their local soldiers into their classroom. It doesn't matter if you are from Pennsylvania, California, or Hawaii; you will be able to tie local soldiers into your teaching. To be sure, soldiers are not the only personalities that you can touch upon in class you will also learn how to incorporate more civilian stories into your discussion. You will be sure to walk away with a better understanding of how to utilize those resources closest to you. 


Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Rx—Carolyn Ivanoff

 This program will examine the comprehensive health-care program of Chamberlain. His long life and medical history provide an overview of 19th-century medical care, its successes, vagaries, and in Chamberlain’s case, its miracles. Chamberlain survived smallpox, heat stroke, malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis. After Gettysburg, he was diagnosed with “neurasthenia” a Civil War illness syndrome akin to modern post-traumatic stress disorder. His horse was shot from under him five times (Charlemagne twice) and six times he was hit with rebel lead causing his obituary to be sent to the New York papers twice. The most devastating injury was the pelvic wound he suffered at Rive’s Salient outside of Petersburg. The complications from that wound would plague him horribly for almost 50 years and result in the cause of death listed on his death certificate at the age of 85 in 1914.


Making it Real: Using Local Resources to Enhance the Classroom Experience—Diane Klinefelter

Teaching Civil War history can be so much more exciting than memorizing dates, battles, and names. A site such as the Andrew Carnegie Free Library has turned its unique Grand Army of the Republic Post room into an online teaching tool. Learn how you can engage students through their local history sites. 


“O’er the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave?” Understanding the Story of the Star-Spangled Banner—Shannon McLucas

As the United States’ national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner is a song recognized the world over. However, its origins in the War of 1812 and its meaning are often far less familiar.  The two icons which emerged after the Battle of Baltimore in 1814—the flag and the song inspired by the defenders of Fort McHenry—helped to forge a new American identity.

Help students to learn the story behind the song from the perspective of those defenders who inspired it. Drawing on the writings of those who experienced the Chesapeake Campaign during the War of 1812, students can begin to understand the causes and significance of the war. By understanding the personal stories of those who fought in the Battle of Baltimore and historical context of the song, students can begin to think critically about the meaning of The Star-Spangled Banner.    


Tackling Civil War Controversy in the Classroom: Encouraging Critical Thinking with Shades of Gray and Blue—Dr. Chris Mackowski

When the Civil War makes it into current events, teachers have an excellent opportunity for a teaching moment—but behind those headlines often lurk controversies that can cause headaches. Navigating those challenging waters can often lead to great critical thinking, though. Dr. Chris Mackowski, editor in chief of Emerging Civil War, will facilitate a discussion where teachers can share their experiences, their challenges, and their best solutions while also learning some things that will let them interject some shades of gray (and blue) into conversations often miscast as black and white.


Teaching Through Turning Points—Kristopher D. White

The average person assumes that the Battle of Gettysburg is THE turning point of the Civil War. They assume, too, that Saratoga was THE turning point of the Revolutionary War. The truth is, there were many turning points in the American Civil War and Revolutionary War, both on and off the battlefield. Learn about these turning points and how you can utilize them in your classroom. It doesn't matter if you have two days or two weeks to t—each the subject, turning points can be guideposts on your road through history. 


The Man behind the Marble; Understanding George Washington—Phillip S. Greenwalt

George Washington, referred to as the father of the country, has left a legacy that many have studied. But, who was George Washington? What helped mold him into the leader he became. In this seminar, we will discuss the person behind the façade. Delve into the personal traits and characteristics and tease out the examples that can be copied, emulated, and taught to current and future generations. This will be an examination from his early years, into his military service, and culminating in his roles in the Constitution Convention and president to understand the man behind the marble. 


Utilizing National Cemeteries as a Resource—Douglas Ullman 

Many schools are located near the final resting place of American soldiers. Learn how to incorporate the stories of National Cemeteries, as well as the stories of the men that made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, in your teaching of American history. 


“When Johnny Came Marching Home”—David Wege

Follow the story of a young college student who enlisted in the rush of enthusiasm during the heady early days of the Civil War.  Feel the despair when his martial dreams were shattered after a cannonball destroyed his leg a few days after his enlistment.  Rise with him as strength generated by the human spirit drove him to not accept his fate, but rather to rise above his condition.

Follow the stories of young servicemen today who signed on the dotted line “payable up to and including the ultimate sacrifice.”  See them rise beyond horrific injuries to stand proud as symbols of strength and perseverance in America today.  The spirit of Valley Forge is alive in America today.

Teachers should be able to leave this presentation with ideas for contacting veterans and bringing them into the classroom.  A healthy dose of inspiration and some appreciation for the human spirit is also included. 


Whose Liberty? African Americans in the American Revolution: Hands-On Workshop—Adrienne Whaley

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…but for whom? As American colonists protested what they perceived as unequal treatment from the British – and sometimes referred to as slavery – they held hundreds of thousands of people of African descent into lifelong servitude. For these legally enslaved men, women, and children, the turbulent 1760s – 1780s provided moments of both opportunity and frustration. In this workshop, learn how the Museum of the American Revolution uses objects and documents to encourage students to dig into stories of liberty and slavery during the Revolution, and how you can translate this into your classroom.


Saturday Tours

Civil War Tour:

Confederate High Tide: Overlooked Actions of the Gettysburg Campaign

Led by historians Wayne Motts and Timothy Smith, participants will go behind the scenes and get their hands on some of the best artifacts in the collection of the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA. This hands-on-tour will help you to introduce museums, artifacts and more, to your classroom. Then, that afternoon, visit often-overlooked sites associated with the northernmost leg of the Gettysburg Campaign, as you visit the site of Wrightsville Bridge, Carlise, and York.


Revolutionary War Tour:

“There! His Majesty can now read my name without glasses.": The Foundations of American Liberty 

Travel to "Old City" Philadelphia, where we will explore the founding of our nation. Led by the American Battlefield Trust's Education Manager Kristopher White, Dr. Chris Mackowski, Adrienne Whaley of the Museum of the American Revolution, and National Park Service historians, this tour will include hands-on workshops and tours of the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the new Museum of the American Revolution.


Sunday Tour (Optional)

Valley Forge National Historical Park

Explore one of the most famous and pivotal chapters of the American Revolution—the winter encampment at Valley Forge. Led by expert guides, this half-day, car caravan tour, will bring the story of  Washington's encampment to life.