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Civil War Trust

Educators to Bring the Civil War to Life in their Classrooms

More than 170 teachers descend on Gettysburg for the CWPT 2010 Teacher Institute

Teacher Institute Shirt

On a hot July weekend, more than 170 teachers attended CWPT’s ninth annual Teacher’s Institute in Hagerstown, Md. The lectures, workshops, discussions and battlefield tours were designed to give participants new information and proven methods to take back to their classrooms. Educators from across the country led a wide range of workshops on how to implement Civil War lessons into the modern classroom.

The weekend also included were lectures by prominent Civil War historians. Dr. James I. “Bud” Robertson of Virginia Tech spoke on teaching and writing about the Civil War. During his discussion Robertson announced his upcoming retirement from teaching, making this his last appearance at the CWPT Teacher Institute.  A longtime supporter of our education initiatives, Dr. Robertson’s hands-on assistance will be greatly missed, but CWPT wishes him the best in his retirement.

On Saturday night, Dr. Peter Carmichael, director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, delivered a lecture on how to engage students in the past, arguing for genealogical research and the use of physical objects for a tangible connection to the past. The next day, teachers were treated to an intimate discussion with bestselling author and CWPT trustee Jeff Shaara, whose historical novels Gods and Generals and Last Full Measure form a trilogy with his father’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Killer Angels.  Shaara discussed his career and how he came to be an author, praising teachers for their hard work and passion for the study of history. 

Saturday’s tour of Gettysburg was the highlight of the weekend.  The tour enabled teachers to experience the greatest resource in Civil War education — the battlefields themselves. Attendees visited Little Round Top, Devil’s Den, the site of Pickett’s Charge, and Gettysburg National Cemetery. Gettysburg National Military Park staff, including Matt Atkinson, Scott Hartwig and Barb Sanders, were invaluable in organizing the tours.

CWPT would like to commend the generosity of Mr. Jeff Shaara and CWPT’s committed members for their contributions to the Institute’s stipend program. Although the program is offered free of charge to teachers, they or their school districts must pay for lodging and transportation to the event, fees that, in this economy, strained some individuals’ ability to attend. However, thanks to these generous supporters, CWPT was able to offer 16 stipends to offset these costs.

The 2010 Teacher’s Institute would also not have been possible without the support of our partners at the National Parks Service and Virginia Center for Civil War Studies. We would further like to thank CWPT Trustees, Childs Burden, Mary Abroe and Jeff Shaara for attending and sharing their enduring commitment to CWPT’s preservation mission with these educators.

The next CWPT Teacher Institute is scheduled for mid-July 2011. Based in Nashville, Tenn., the event will focus on the battles of Franklin and Stones River. For more information, please contact us at or watch our website at


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