Thursday, April 14, 2011

NERGC: Bringing the Civil War to Life through Library Programs & Curriculum Development

After a wonderful lunch sponsored by ProQuest, we moved on to presentation number 4 for Librarians’ & Teachers’ Day: “Bringing the Civil War to Life through Library Programs & Curriculum Development” by Donna E. Walcovy, Ph.D..  12 April 2011 is the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War and librarians, teachers and genealogists will be celebrating with a multitude of programing.  This was a great presentation.  Donna is a very exuberant speaker and brings cool props!

The presentation begun with Donna showing us a sword from Civil War that began to her cousin, President William McKinley – too cool!  She then told a story of buying one neighborhood boy a Civil War Union outfit and play guns.  She then bought the boy across the street the same items for Confederates.  The boys would then play Civil War in the back yard.  What a great way to get children interested in history.

How else can we introduce children and adults to history?  Journals from the time, Civil War paper dolls, CDs and books with songs from the era, create guides to the Civil War in your area (such as road trips or walking tours), literature, computer games, “You Are There: The Fall of Fort Sumter” CD, and, of course, articles in magazines and websites (particularly the NPS site & the Smithsonian).

Imagine being a young girl reading about the Civil War.  Would you rather read a boring text book about the War or a book such as An Uncommon Soldier: The Civil War Letters of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, alias Pvt. Lyons Wakeman, 153rd Regiment, New York State Volunteers, 1862-1864, about a woman who dressed up as a man and fought in the Civil War?  I know what I would prefer, even to this day.  This is one way to “transport” students back to the time period and showing the relationship between what happened in history and the student.

One recommendation which continues on the theme of access is to let Eagle Scouts use your materials for their projects.

Looking for gravesites of your Civil War soldier?  Check Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War gravesite registration.

The presentation ended with my winning the cds” Military Records: Civil War Service Records”.  It was a lucky weekend for me!

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