Nonprofit's Boston Virtual Field Trip Takes Viewers to the Site of the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" and Beyond
Colleen Cheslak-Poulton, (202) 367-1861 x7234
(Boston, Mass.) — For its latest Virtual Field Trip, the American Battlefield Trust is taking viewers to the birthplace of the American Revolution and so-called “cradle of liberty:” Boston, Massachusetts. On a whirlwind journey to some of the city’s most historic landmarks and institutions, energetic host and Trust Copie Hill Fellow Chris Mackowski also ventures 14 miles beyond Beantown to Minute Man National Historical Park, scene of the moments and events celebrated this and every Patriots Day. Not only a product that’s capable of making Bay Staters beam with pride for their Commonwealth’s story, this visually stunning video also accomplishes the Trust’s goal of transporting teachers and students to sites that molded America, recognizing that not all classrooms across the country hold the power to visit these locations in person.
“As preservationists and educators, we at the American Battlefield Trust believe it is critical to make place-based resources on the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War free and accessible to all,” said the Trust’s president David Duncan. “Teachers have told us time and again that video is the medium best suited to engage students in the modern classroom, and we’ve listened.”
With the success of its first virtual field trip to War of 1812 Baltimore, the Trust decided that further destinations met a clear need within its ever-growing library of video and K-12 content. Thanks to an interpretation grant awarded through the National Park Service's American Battlefield Protection Program, the Trust was able to contract acowsay, an award-winning film company based out of Minneapolis, Minn., to produce iterations for Boston, Charleston, New Orleans and Vicksburg.
The Boston virtual field trip was designed to blend historical narration, scenic footage and interaction with an impressive line-up of subject matter experts and living history interpreters. As host, Mackowski exudes genuine enthusiasm for being in the places where history happened and learning from the people who hold these stories near to their hearts. He encounters a range of nation-defining artifacts at the Massachusetts Historical Society; throws tea into Boston Harbor with “Phyllis Wheatley” at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum; walks sections of the Freedom Trail, stopping at Copp’s Hill Burying Ground and the Old North Church; meanders to Minute Man National Historical Park; examines the importance of wartime music with the Lexington Historical Society; strolls along Boston Common; and even fires the signal gun of the “Old Ironsides,” the USS Constitution.
“Capturing the spirit of Boston’s past was made easy with the joy and dedication the American Battlefield Trust and its collaborators brought to the project,” said acowsay Owner and Director Tyler Eichorst. “To be on site at these iconic locations and then weave together the sights and stories in a way that will inspire the nation’s future leaders, the project took on a whole new level of meaning.”
Throughout the field trip, students – and learners of all ages – are encouraged to imagine the wonders of the past but are also challenged to think critically about the actions that unfolded during Boston’s Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War eras. Being that these actions were not faceless, viewers are urged to investigate the people behind the events.
“It takes risks, it takes courage, it takes enormous faith... and the written record of what people did in the past can humanize these people that we look up to,” noted Director of Research Kanisorn “Kid” Wongsrichanalai, at the Massachusetts Historical Society. “That gives us some inspiration that you too can do something great. If there’s any hope for the future, it’s through the next generation realizing that they can achieve wonders. A small action can change the world.”
Within the next two years, the American Battlefield Trust will continue to provide a window to the past for students nationwide, with the release of virtual field trips that will prompt them to think big and embrace the lessons history can offer. For the Trust’s current array of classroom resources, check out www.battlefields.org/learn or the organization’s expansive YouTube channel.
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 56,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War across 155 sites in 25 states. Learn more at www.battlefields.org.