Battlefield Preservation

It finally happened. I don’t know if Virginia Governor Ralph Northam waited for April, which has traditionally been the month when states celebrate Confederate Heritage Month, to sign this bill, but I thank him. Yesterday, the governor signed a bill that allows communities across the state to decide whether their Confederate monuments still reflect the Read more

A good friend of mine who is a historian with the National Park Service offered this observation the other day: The present debate over Confederate iconography will, over time, fundamentally alter the place battlefields hold in America’s historic and cultural landscapes. He’s absolutely right. It’s hard to believe that the question of whether the National Read more

Last night I returned from five days of battlefield stomping with thirteen wonderful students. I was hoping to write a few more blog posts, but I simply didn’t have enough time between the driving, walking and just trying to enjoy those few moments of downtime. All in all the trip reminded me of why I Read more

In a couple of days I head out with thirteen students to follow the 20th Massachusetts Infantry from Antietam to Gettysburg. It’s going to be an incredible experience for my kids. We have a great deal of ground to cover both literally and figuratively. I want my students to grapple with the central questions that Read more

My first visit to Gettysburg came after the destruction of the National Tower on July 3, 2000. I was reminded of it earlier today while reading Jen Murray’s, On a Great Battlefield: The Making, Management, and Memory of Gettysburg National Military Park, 1933-2012. Jen does a fabulous job of exploring the controversy surrounding the construction Read more

What follows is a guest post from my good friend, Garry Adelman, who shares his thoughts about last week’s Gettysburg commemoration. I had been looking forward to the Gettysburg 150th commemoration for years. I knew—all Civil War people knew–it would be a big deal. Some could not wait to go; some treated it like the Read more

RIP Gettysburg Cyclorama Building

Word came today that the National Park Service will begin demolition of the old Cyclorama building at Gettysburg.  It was just a matter of time.  I never had a real problem with it being there, though I admit it was sort of an eyesore.  I also have no problem with removing it for that reason Read more

While browsing the Museum of the Confederacy’s website I came across this panel discussion from 2002 on the interpretation of Civil War battlefields.  I attended this panel, which was held at the University of Richmond.  It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years. I decided to watch it once again though I was struck by Read more

Looking Beyond the High Ground

Much of my research and commentary on the evolution of battlefield interpretation within the National Park Service has referenced the 2000 Rally on the High Ground Conference as a watershed moment.  Without being too overly simplistic the working assumption has been that the most significant changes to NPS interpretation has been in reaction to Congressman Read more