Civil War Trust
For Immediate Release: 05/30/08

Civil War Preservation Trust Hosts Institute for Teachers in Historic Hagerstown, MD

Seventh annual Teacher Institute features prominent historians and showcases strategies for bringing the Civil War-era to life for young Americans

(Hagerstown, Md.) - This summer elementary, middle and high school teachers from around the nation will converge in Hagerstown, Md. to take part in the Civil War Preservation Trust’s (CWPT) annual Teacher Institute. The three-day event will offer educators an opportunity to meet and discuss the successful tactics they employ in their classrooms, as well as participate in workshops and attend lectures by top historians.

Entering its seventh year, the CWPT Teacher Institute is a premiere event for educators interested in enhancing their own knowledge of the Civil War era. The Institute is co-sponsored by the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech and includes some of the country’s foremost Civil War historians, including James I. “Bud” Robertson and William C. Davis, as well as representatives of the African-American Civil War Museum and the Center for Civil War Photography. As in previous years, Virginia Tech will offer attendees continuing education credit for their participation; upon successful completion of the program, 1.75 units will be awarded.

“Without inspiring teachers it is difficult for students to develop a passion for history or an appreciation of the hallowed ground of Civil War battlefields,” said CWPT president James Lighthizer. “We at CWPT are committed to providing quality educational resources for teachers, so that they can bring the past alive for today’s young people and nurture the next generation of preservationists and history lovers.”

A wide variety of topics will be covered at this year’s Institute, ranging from cultural aspects of the era, such as the role of women during the war and the impact of the Lincoln Assassination, to more martial concerns like troop movements and tactics on the selected battlefields. Sessions will also cover a wide variety of pedagogical techniques, including the introduction of primary sources in the classroom, the use modern technology to teach history and the best ways to cover issues related to the Civil War-era with younger students. Attendees will also discuss ways to get students actively involved in the past through living history events or planning a commemoration activity for the upcoming 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

The most popular aspect of the Teacher Institute is the exclusive tours of Civil War battlefields by prominent historians. This year’s Institute will include a site visit to either Antietam National Battlefield or Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, where attendees will learn strategies and ideas to help students get the most out of their own classroom field trips.

The Institute is offered free of charge to teachers, but they or their school districts must pay for lodging and transportation to the event. Through the generosity of noted author Jeff Shaara, the John J. Pohanka Family Foundation and other donors, CWPT is able to offer a limited number of stipends (of up to $1,500 each) to help defray the costs of attendance for interested educators. To be eligible, a teacher must be a first-time attendee and be traveling from out of state for the event. Stipends will be awarded by a panel of judges and reflect that individual’s anticipated attendance costs.

In addition to the annual Teacher Institute, CWPT offers other educational programs, including specially designed curricula for in-depth study of Civil War history at the fifth, eighth and eleventh grade levels and . CWPT also sponsors an interactive “traveling trunk” program that includes a variety of hands-on items that help students feel more connected to the era as they study. Additionally, CWPT annually awards one active classroom with the A. Wilson Greene Scholarship, a stipend to help fund a field trip to Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War in Petersburg, Virginia.

For more information on the Teacher Institute or one of CWPT’s other education programs, please call (301) 665-1400, email or click on

With 65,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to educate the public about the importance of this hallowed ground to our country’s history. CWPT’s website is


  • Jim Campi or Mary Koik (CWPT)
    (202) 367-1861

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