Social studies teachers from across the country came to Gettysburg in July to participate in the highly-competitive “Teaching the American Civil War Through Material Culture” summer seminar. This seminar, hosted by the Civil War Institute and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, introduced participants to the many ways teachers can utilize artifacts, photographs, and historical sites as a means to understand the revolutionary experiences and consequences of the Civil War. Dividing their time between the classroom, the battlefield, and various local museums and archives, participating teachers examined historic documents, propaganda art, photographs, monuments, and artifacts of battle, delving deeply into the ways that the “stuff of the past” can communicate how historical people made different meanings and memories of the Civil War. Over the course of the week, teachers were offered a variety of new methods and materials that can be used to inform and engage students of all ages and learning styles.
ON THE FRONT LINES OF HISTORY
In the summer of 2014, Brian Johnson ’14 was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Robert Sibley Cooper, Jr. Fellowship. This summer fellowship, established by Ann Cooper in memory of her husband Robert Sibley Cooper, Jr., provides a Gettysburg College student or recent graduate the opportunity to spend a summer working at the Civil War Institute. As the inaugural Cooper Fellow, Johnson assisted CWI Director Peter Carmichael with research for his forthcoming book on Civil War soldiers and played a central role in staffing the annual Civil War Institute Summer Conference and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Teacher Seminar, “The American Civil War Through Material Culture.” Read more about the Cooper Fellowship here.