Daily Schedule

Session 1: June 26–July 1, 2016 or Session 2: July 31–August 5, 2016
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Introduction & Orientation

Discovering Graffiti Soldiers

Your Experiences with Civil War history

Stories about Soldiers

Digital Photography

Site Visit: Blenheim House

Photography Workshop

Soldiers’ Drawings

Site Visit: Ben Lomond

Site Visit: Brandy Station

Soldiers in Combat

Soldiers after the war

Site visit: NARA

Site visit: Building Museum

Digital Historian’s Toolkit

Digital Storytelling Workshop

Site visit: Gettysburg: Battlefields, Burial & Monuments

Piecing it Together

Digital Storytelling

Wrap up

Meetings at GMU Arlington will take place in Founders Hall (Directions)

  • Session 1: Founders Hall 120
  • Session 2: Founders Hall 118

Day 1: Sunday: Introduction and Orientation

4:00pm      Introduction: Meet your group at GMU Arlington

(Session 1: Founders Hall 120; Session 2: Founders Hall 118)

Meet the participants with who you will be working throughout the week to create an online exhibit.

4:30pm      Discovering Graffiti Soldiers

Andrea Loewenwarter, a historic resources specialist at Historic Blenheim, and project co-director Prof. Stephen Robertson will explore how they discovered the soldiers who wrote graffiti, a process that the workshop follows, and how graffiti can be interpreted.

Reading: The syllabus of Stephen Robertson’s undergraduate digital history course, Katherine Reed’s article on frameworks for interpreting Civil War graffiti, and selections from Robert Bonner’s The Soldier’s Pen on soldiers’ letters and diaries to consider how graffiti relates to those sources.

5:15pm      Discussion: Your Experiences with Civil War history

Robertson will lead a discussion about your experiences with Civil War history: which historic sites you have visited, how you understand and teach the Civil War, and where the experiences of individual soldiers can be used to help students understand the war, and the experiences of veterans living in their communities.             

6:00pm      Dinner

Day 2: Monday: Soldiers & their Writings

8:00am      Gather/Coffee at GMU Arlington

8:30am      Lecture/Discussion: Stories about Soldiers

Prof. Aaron Sheehan-Dean will introduce you to the historical literature on soldiers, outlining their experiences of the war and focusing on the sources scholars have used and the changing topics and interpretations they have explored.

ReadingJoseph Glatthaar’s brief overview of what soldiers experienced, and a chapter by Sheehan-Dean on the scholarship on soldiers, and an article by Jason Philips on the different archetypes of the Civil War soldier that historians have constructed, to help you think about the types of stories that you could tell about an individual soldier.

9:45am      Break

10:15am     Workshop: Capturing the Past Through Digital Photography

RRCHNM Multimedia Developer Chris Preperato will lead a hands-on workshop about how to compose and frame photographs to capture and create stories about the past.

Please bring digital cameras (a limited number of cameras will also be available on a first come, first serve basis).

11:00am     Travel by bus to Blenheim House

11:45am     Lunch

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Blenheim House contains one of the most voluminous and best-preserved examples of Civil War graffiti in the nation, with over 120 inscriptions, artwork, games, and other drawings left behind by Union soldiers. The group will take a special tour of the attic level of the home, normally off-limits to visitors. (The attic is only accessible by stairs; there is no elevator). While on site, practice your photography skills and consider options for the soldier you will research. Chris Preperato will be on hand to offer advice.

3:00pm      Travel by bus to GMU Arlington

3:45pm      Photography Workshop

Working with Preperato, share your photos in a critique session, examining what worked well and how to improve.

 5:30pm      Return to hotel

Day 3: Tuesday: Soldiers & their Drawings

8:00am      Gather/Coffee at GMU Arlington

8:30am      Discussion: Soldiers’ Drawings

Discussion led by Prof. Robert Bonner focused on the art of Civil War soldiers. Those images provide a context for understanding what soldiers drew on walls, and how those drawings relate to the signatures and writings that accompany them.

ReadingSelections from Prof. Bonner’s book The Soldier’s Pen that examine the paintings of Private Henry Berckhoff and the cartoons/drawings of an anonymous private from Massachusetts.

9:45am      Travel by bus to Ben Lomond Historic Site

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Ben Lomond House, used first as a Confederate field hospital during the Civil War, offers the opportunity to see a small amount of graffiti left by Union troops who occupied the area after spring 1862, and tour the immersive Civil War field hospital exhibit that reconstructs the context in which much graffiti was written, as well as the slave quarters that were part of what Union soldiers encountered in the South.

12:00pm     Lunch

12:30pm     Travel by bus to Graffiti House, Brandy Station

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Graffiti House in Brandy Station, VA served first as a Confederate field hospital and then later as a Union headquarters in winter 1863-1864. View the more than 200 items of graffiti left by both Union and Confederate soldiers, exploring the commonalities and differences in tone, content, and style. (All the graffiti is on the first floor, which is only accessible by stairs – there is no elevator)

3:00pm      Travel by bus to GMU Arlington

4:30pm      Discussion: Soldiers in Combat

Prof. Joseph Glatthaar will lead a discussion about the experience of fighting in the Civil War. In addition to providing information about the combat experiences that shaped what soldiers wrote on the walls, and the impact that the war had on them, the session will offer useful preparation for the visit to the Gettysburg battlefield.

ReadingSelections from Robert Bonner’s The Soldier’s Pen, Gerald Linderman’s Embattled Courage, and Earl Hess’ The Union Soldier in Battle that discuss how soldiers responded to the gap between their expectations of a short, heroic war and the frequently indecisive battles produced by the environment, tactics, and weapons of the Civil War.

5:45pm      Return to hotel

Day 4: Wednesday: Researching Soldiers

7.45am      Gather/Coffee at GMU Arlington

8:00am      Lecture/Discussion: Soldiers After the War

Prof. James Marten will discuss the lives of Civil War veterans. Learn about the challenges both the able-bodied and the disabled men faced returning to civilian life after years of fighting, and explore the provisions made for soldiers, in particular the pension system, at the time the largest and most generous social insurance scheme in the world.

Reading: Selections from Marten’s Sing Not War: The Lives of Union and Confederate Veterans in the Gilded Age, a study of veterans’ experiences that focuses on the men’s unexpectedly difficult adjustments to civilian life. A selection from Dixon Wechter, When Johnny Comes Marching Home on soldiers who successfully adjusted to civilian life.

9:00am      Travel to National Archives via Metro

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Research your group’s chosen soldier who left graffiti. NARA Education staff will introduce the two primary sources preserved in National Archives, service records and pension applications. Before the visit your group will choose one soldier from the selection of graffiti they have seen to be your research subject.

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1:00pm     Walk to the National Building Museum

1:15pm     Lunch

800px-Meigs-21:30pm     Site visit: The National Building Museum

The museum was originally the headquarters for the U.S. Pension Bureau, which processed and housed the records teachers examined at the National Archives. The grand building makes concrete the scale of the pension system. The exterior features one of the most striking memorials to the Civil War soldier, a 1,200-foot-long terra cotta frieze made up of figures representing the Union infantry, cavalry, artillery, naval, quartermaster, and medical units. This sculpture is one of a series of monuments and memorials that you will examine that shows the prominent place the common soldier held in memories of the Civil War and offers a point of comparison with soldiers’ graffiti. Its creator, Caspar Buberl, also produced several monuments that we will view on a later visit to Gettysburg.

ReadingA selection from Kathryn Jacob, Testament to Union: Civil War Monuments in Washington, D.C. on the Pension Bureau frieze

2:30pm      Travel to GMU Arlington via Metro

3.15pm      Discussion: Online Resources for Civil War History

Prof. Scott Nesbit will lead a discussion of digital resources and projects about the Civil War, introducing sources that can be used to fill out and make sense of the story of the soldiers you are researching.

4:15pm      Break

4:30pm      Workshop: A Digital Historian’s Toolkit

Working with Prof. Stephen Robertson, learn to use CartoDB to visualize where soldiers served and spent their lives after the war.

5:30pm      Return to hotel

Day 5: Thursday: Memorializing Soldiers

8:00am      Gather/Coffee at GMU Arlington

8:30am      Workshop: Digital Storytelling

Working with RRCHNM staff, learn to use Omeka, an open-source web-publishing platform for building online collections and exhibitions.

10:00am     Depart by bus for Gettysburg

During the bus ride, teacher teams will begin to map out ideas for their online exhibitions.

12:00pm     Lunch

12:30pm     Site Visit: Gettysburg

Gettysburg_national_cemetery_img_4164Travel to Gettysburg with Prof. Christopher Hamner and Prof. Stephen Robertson to tour the site where many of the graffiti soldiers fought. The museum offers an opportunity to view artifacts associated with common soldiers. Touring the cemetery and battlefield monuments, you will learn about the new concern to identify and name all the dead, to treat them equally without regard to rank, and to memorialize the common soldier that characterized the Civil War era. Finally, being on the battlefield itself will give an on-the-ground perspective of the battle, and allow us to follow in the footsteps of soldiers who left graffiti. (This site visit will involve a significant amount of walking).

ReadingTo help interpret this landscape, read an article by Drew Faust on the concern to name the Civil War dead, selections from books by John Neff on the creation of national cemeteries, Kirk Savage on the memorials to the common soldier that were constructed in communities across the north, and Edward Linenthal on the development of the Gettysburg battlefield as a memorial.

5:00pm      Depart by bus for Arlington

During the bus ride, teacher teams will continue to map out their ideas for their online exhibitions.

7:00pm      Arrive at hotel

Day 6: Friday: Telling a Soldier’s Story online

8:00am      Gather/Coffee at GMU Arlington

8:30am      Workshop: Piecing It Together

Work with your group, and the graduate student assigned to help your group, to build an online exhibit in Omeka to tell the story of your soldier. This is an opportunity to pull together all you have learned throughout the week: Incorporate the photographs taken on site visits and at the National Archives, information from the presentations by scholars and associated readings, online sources, and digital mapping and text mining tools.

ReadingAn article by Trevor Owens that highlights what makes an effective and engaging online exhibit.

10.15am     Break

10.30am    Continue work in groups

12:00pm     Lunch

1.00pm     Check-in

After lunch, each group will share their progress and receive feedback from other participants and the workshop staff. Teacher teams will then incorporate that feedback as they continue to craft their digital exhibitions.

1.30pm Continue work in groups

3:00pm      Wrap Up

Teacher teams will have the opportunity to share what they have developed for their graffiti soldier’s story, discuss how to translate this process into their classroom, and map out the next steps in their process. As an online, multi-user platform, Omeka enables the teachers to continue to collaborate on their projects after the workshop. When complete, the projects will be made available through the workshop website.

4.30pm      Workshop ends