John Hennessy

My collection of essays, Interpreting the American Civil War at Museums and Historic Sites, took a big step closer to publication yesterday with the return of the independent review. I don’t mind admitting that I have been a bit stressed out over it. This is my first stab at editing a collection of essays solo Read more

Update: I thought this editorial about the Augusta Civil War Round Table in Georgia was worth reading in light of the post and discussion below. My good friend John Hennessy posted some thoughts earlier today about his recent experiences presenting in front of Civil War Round Tables. While John references the decline in membership and Read more

Calling All Public Historians

Yesterday’s post about my good friend John Hennessy left me wondering what, if anything, has taken place or is being planned in museums, historical societies and other institutions to help their communities make sense of the relevant history behind our ongoing and very emotional discussion about Civil War memory. It’s an opportune moment for public Read more

There is no public historian that I respect more than John Hennessy, who is currently the National Park Service’s chief historian at the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park. John has led the way in pushing the boundaries of battlefield interpretation and our broader national discussion over the course of the Civil War sesquicentennial. As Read more

What I wouldn’t give to be in Richmond, Virginia this coming week for the 150th anniversary of the city’s fall and liberation. There are a wide range of events planned by the National Park Service and a host of other organizations. It’s a fitting way to end the sesquicentennial in Virginia given its track record 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

The following video was produced by the National Park Service and offers some scenes from yesterday’s opening ceremony marking the sesquicentennial of the Overland Campaign. It features excerpts from addresses by Northeast Regional Director Mike Caldwell, Park Superintendent Lucy Lawliss, FRSP Chief Historian John Hennessy, RNBP Ranger Alshley Whitehead Luskey, and Dr. James I. “Bud” Read more

Shortly after the publication of Common-place’s special issue on the Civil War sesquicentennial I was contacted by Timothy Good, who is currently the superintendent at the Ulysses S. Grant Historic Site. He wanted to respond to John Hennessy’s essay on the challenges of interpreting the Civil War on National Park Service battlefields. I suggested he Read more

I’ve said it before, but I don’t mind repeating that no one has taught me more about the challenges of interpreting the Civil War at America’s battlefields than John Hennessy. John’s contribution to Common-place explores some of the more recent sticking points that have arisen as a result of shifts in battlefield interpretation away from Read more