The Civil War Curriculum | Goal 9 | High School

KepisPreserving the Memory

By the Civil War Trust, Endorsed by History™History (tm) Logo

Grades:  High School

Approximate Length of Time:  50 minutes

Goal: Students will be able to formulate ways in which society can preserve the memory of the war.


1. Students will be able to conduct research related to a battlefield that needs to be preserved.
2. Students will be able to complete portions of the National Register of Historic Places application for a battlefield of their choice.
3. Students will be able to provide examples of ways that people can become involved with battlefield preservation.


1. Preserving the Memory Video
2. Saving Battlefields: The Need to Act Now
3. “Why Battlefields Have Been Preserved”
5. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form
6. National Register of Historic Places Continuation Sheet
7. National Register of Historic Places Instructions
8. Graphic Organizer


Preserve-to keep; to keep safe; to keep in existence; to maintain

Anticipatory Set/Hook:

1. Ask students what they think battlefields and other Civil War sites such as houses, cemeteries, railroad stations, and churches look like today. Do students think they still look like they did during the war? Since the Civil War happened in the United States have they ever seen a Civil War battlefield or site?


Activity 1

1. Watch the Preserving the Memory Video as a class.
2. Discuss the following:

a. Why might people want to remember events in history?
b. What are some ways we learn about history or certain historic events?
c. How does knowing about something that happened so long ago help us today?

3. Read Why Battlefields Have Been Preserved together as a class and watch Saving Battlefields: The Need to Act Now. 

a. Discuss why battlefields have been preserved.
b. Ask students how do they think battlefields have been preserved. Who has preserved them? Do students think it’s easy to preserve a battlefield?

Activity 2

4. Hand out the National Register of Historic Places Registration, Continuation Sheet (just provides extra writing space for section 7), and the National Register of Historic Places Instructions.
5. Explain that this is a process that anyone can go through. Placing a historic site on the National Register of Historic Places allows the site to be considered historically significant and can qualify it for protection from possible alterations or demolition.
6. Have students visit and complete the Graphic Organizer. To see the individual battlefields click on Read the Report; on the right side of the page there will be a list of 10 battlefields with links to each battlefield.

Activity 3

7. Have students complete the Historic Places Registration.


1. Tally the students’ top choices for Most Endangered Battlefield and discover what they think is the most important battlefield to be preserved and their reasoning for this choice.
2. Have students provide examples of ways that they can help preserve this battlefield.


1. Take Action-have your students participate in the preservation of a local Civil War site or get them involved with one of the Most Endangered Battlefields.  Many of these sites have not been registered on the National Register.
2. Participate in Park Day-see if a site in your area is hosting a Park Day event
3. Tell us about your work through the Teaching Civics through Preservation page 

Assessment in this Lesson:

1. Informal assessment through the video follow-up discussion questions
2. Informal assessment through the discussions following the Why Battlefields Have Been Preserved Article and the Saving Battlefields video.
3. Completion of the Graphic Organizer
4. National Register of Historic Places Registration completed.
5. Informal assessment through students examples of how they can help preserve a battlefield.

Related Links:

Complete National Register Documents
Guidelines for Identifying, Evaluating, and Registering America’s Historic Battlefields

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