I came in early today to help host a two-day teacher’s seminar from Journey Through Hallowed Ground (JTHG) at the Library. The seminar is titled Engaging Students with the National Civil War Memorial Teacher Seminar, and provides a great opportunity for educators to receive professional development and curriculum ideas, as well as access to online family history tools. It’s always exciting to work with educators. It’s even better to work with educators when we can help facilitate their success and serve as a resource for their students.
The seminar is connected with the Living Legacy Program, an initiative to commemorate each of the 620,000 soldiers that died in the American Civil War by planting a tree for each one. After planting, each tree is geotagged, allowing visitors the opportunity to learn the name and story of the young man for whom the tree is planted, with photos, diary entries, and letters home also shared through JTHG interactive map.
As a Civil War geek and technophile, I find the whole concept to be incredibly cool. But as a librarian, I can also appreciate the massive potential as a research resource as well. The program is a collaboration with Ancestry.com, Fold3.com, and AncestryK12.com; the goal is to provide students around the country with the resources necessary to conduct primary source-based research on the fallen from their community.
The event hosted teachers from across the region: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and beyond. It’s a thrill to have our Library be a part of bringing these resources to students. The day got started with an overview from Brock Bierman, Senior Director for Ancestry Education, Ancestry.com’s initiative to provide classroom resources to teachers. Teachers can apply for a grant and receive one year of access to Ancestry’s U.S. content, Fold3 (Ancestry’s military history database), and Newspapers.com (Ancestry’s newspapers archive).
JTHG is a partner of the Ancestry Education initiative, and the JTHG lesson plans are available for download here. Another free initiative through Ancestry’s Fold3 service is the Wall of Honor, compiling records of individual fallen soldiers from every U.S. conflict.
Ancestry has a free downloadable e-book, Family History in the Classroom, which guides educators on how to use their tools in the classroom.
Following the Ancestry presentation, I took attendees on a tour of the Library. I had pulled several objects to show them: Mary Cochrane’s Middleburg Civil War Diary (from our Archival Collections), and some of our rare manuscripts and books from the F. Ambrose Clark Rare Book Room.
George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Librarian