About a year ago I did a phone interview with Julie Holcomb who is a lecturer at Baylor University and former director of the Pearce Collections at Navarro College in Texas. Julie was in the process of writing an essay on the challenges of creating public exhibits and museum displays concerning the Civil War. Julie focused specifically on how our competing interpretations of the Civil War continue to shape the content and interpretation of various exhibitions. We talked for about an hour and I wished her all the best in her research.
A few days ago one of my readers notified me that Julie's essay appeared in a recently-published book by Charles Grear, titled, The Fate of Texas: The Civil War and the Lone Star State (University of Arkansas Press, 2008). It arrived yesterday and I finally had a chance to read Julie's essay. I was pleased to see that Civil War Memory was cited extensively throughout the chapter and alongside notable historians of memory and public history such as David Blight, Edward Linenthal, John Coski, and Dwight Pitcaithley. It's nice to see that blogs are being taken seriously by scholars. There has been a continuous stream of controversies surrounding museum displays and other exhibits over the past few years and blogging provides an ideal format with which to address these issues and in a way which reaches competing interest groups among the general public. Thanks Julie.
Today I enthusiastically accepted an invitation from the National Park Service to be the keynote speaker at this years Annual Battle of Fredericksburg Ceremony on December 14 at 2pm. The ceremony includes the laying of wreaths by the UDC and SUV. I am going to talk about what we as a community can learn from these battlefields and how battlefields such as Fredericksburg fit into my own teaching about the Civil War and memory.