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American Battlefield Trust Celebrates Its Largest Educator Event Ever

Second Virtual Teacher Institute inspired educators across the world to teach history through new and expanded lenses, provided a sought-after space to share ideas with colleagues

Colleen Cheslak, (202) 367-1861 x7234

(Washington, D.C.) — Encouraging K-12 teachers & administrators, museum professionals, librarians and college-level educators from around the world to “log in and learn,” the American Battlefield Trust succeeded in delivering its largest educator event yet — the 2021 Virtual Teacher Institute, held July 12-16. Following the smash hit that was last year’s first-ever Virtual Teacher Institute, this year’s iteration dared to push the envelope: A whopping 38 sessions were held over the course of five days, welcoming 537 virtual participants — from across three continents. These figures represent not only growth for the organization, but growth for the educators who have the potential to bring these newly gained concepts and ideas to more than 16,000 students in the upcoming school year alone. 

“While we at the Trust work tirelessly to preserve profound battlefield land, we also strive to bring meaning to these decisive landscapes by offering an extensive catalogue of free educational resources for classroom use — whether these classrooms are virtual, indoor or my favorite, outdoor,” said Trust President David Duncan. “The Virtual Teacher Institute has quickly become a staple, as it built a bridge for educators to easily connect with our world class tools, brilliant experts and speakers, and their fellow colleagues.” 

Modeled on elements from on-site Teacher Institutes and lessons learned from last year’s first virtual endeavor, the 2021 online event featured a diverse mix of workshops and lectures that left attendees considering America’s formative struggles from a wide range of perspectives. Sessions included: “Using Trust Resources in the Classroom”; “Teaching History with Empathy and Inclusivity”; “A Drop in the Bucket: Uncovering Women in the Revolution beyond Molly Pitcher”; “A Behind the Scenes Look at the History Channel”; and — always a fan-favorite — “A Civil War Photo Extravaganza,” presented by the Trust’s own Chief Historian Garry Adelman. 

Feedback confirms the positive impact of the Teacher Institute, with 99% of attendees polled indicating that they would recommend the event to a colleague. One grateful participant noted, “The quality of the presenters and variety of topics offered make this one of the most beneficial professional developments I attend. I learn something new every year!” 

The virtual format provides unparalleled access — and at everybody’s favorite price: $0. Moving forward, the organization will pursue a dual-track program with in-person and online options; both will remain free and provide an opportunity to procure Continuing Education Units. Next year’s in-person Teacher Institute will bring participants to the port city of Mobile, Ala. For additional educator resources, look to www.battlefields.org/learn/educators

The American Battlefield Trust is dedicated to preserving America’s hallowed battlegrounds and educating the public about what happened there and why it matters today.  The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected more than 53,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War. Learn more at www.battlefields.org