Made possible with the generous support of our funders: Teaching
American History (a program of the US Dept. of Education), New
Hampshire Council for the Social Studies, and the Vermont Humanities
THE HISTORICAL CONTENT
The Civil War is a crucial episode in American history. One hundred and fifty years later, the war still surrounds us. It is hiding in plain sight across the Upper Valley in cemeteries, villages, parks, public art, and historic sites. Throughout the week we invite you to ask questions, examine evidence, listen to the many voices from the Civil War era, and find those stories that are hidden away in the landscape. We challenge you to embark on your own historical inquiry and share new insights and understandings with your colleagues as we examine the question: What did “full duty” mean to people in our region?
In 1861 the U.S. Army consisted of only about 14,000 men. By the end of the war millions of men had fought. We’ll investigate what it took to raise an army and how our communities did their part. We’ll hear the amazing story of how one small town (Windsor) armed the Union.
The Civil War transformed the lives of all who were swept up in it—whether on the battlefield, at home, or in the factory. We’ll investigate life on the home front, both on the farm and in the factory. We’ll think about the battlefield experiences of our local soldiers.
The Civil War’s impact was far-reaching. Leaders in Strafford and Woodstock were involved in diplomatic discussions around the world and legislative acts that transformed the West. We’ll look at some powerful symbols of those actions—symbols that reside right in our communities.
The Civil War became a war for human freedom. We’ll consider the experience of one enslaved man who pursued his freedom, settled in Woodstock, and returned to the South fight for the freedom of others.
The devastation of the Civil War demanded that Americans find ways to make meaning of the experience. We’ll examine ways Americans gave the war meaning and purpose and how we give it meaning today as we spend a day of reflection in Cornish.
THE INQUIRY PROCESS
This is an inquiry-based institute. As such we
see us all as historians investigating, sharing, and reflecting on new
knowledge as part of a common journey. The
inquiry cycle moves from connecting -> asking questions -> investigating
-> constructing new understandings -> sharing new ideas with others ->
reflecting on the process
Day 2: Guided Investigation
Guided investigations at the American Precision Museum and in Windsor will continue to introduce sources for historical investigation (maps and the landscape). Participants will be challenged to connect historical artifacts and documents to one person’s story in the war.
Day 3: From Guided to Independent Investigation
New primary source work utilizes online sources and the resources of the Woodstock Historical Society. A final session will guide participants in how to share their work through Web 2.0 technology.
Day 5: Share New Ideas; Reflection
As part of this institute, teachers will learn how to create a digital History Cache (similar to a geocache) that enables students to connect their inquiry to their community. As a digital presentation and archive, the History Cache is a culmination of the inquiry process.
WRITING AND REFLECTION
The inquiry process demands constant reflection. Poetry and writing prompts connected to the day’s content offer a way to create interpretive and responsive writings that make connections between history and literature. The writing prompts explore point of view, integrate narrative and analysis, and support personal connections and insights. These responses to literature facilitate the difficult final steps of historical analysis—finding enduring themes, meaning, and significance in the material.
A final project on Friday at St. Gaudens also provides an opportunity for reflection. Small groups will be given the names of local people who participated in the Civil War. The project is to consider the focus question “What did full duty mean?” from their perspectives, creating a story from materials you encounter throughout the week. The story can be in the form of diary entries, a set of facsimile letters, a series of sketches, a first-person interpretation, a song—whatever you want to do. Participants will present their projects at the end of the institute on Friday. This is not meant to be an intense research project—instead it is to give voices to the people from our region who did their “full duty.”
OVERALL GOALS for the institute are for teachers to:
Location of the Institute
The institute is being held in the Upper Valley region of Vermont and New Hampshire. Directions to the participating museums are listed on the institute website and on the bottom of the daily schedules. Because of the distance some participants will be driving we are offering rooms at the Shire Motel on Wednesday night. www.shiremotel.com
Meals and Refreshments
Coffee, tea, and water are provided throughout each day along with lunch and an afternoon snack. If you need additional food or beverages bring whatever you want. If you have any special dietary concerns, please contact Sarah Rooker BEFORE the institute begins.