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Interpreting the Civil War at Museums and Historic Sites

Edited by Kevin M. Levin

Hardback
Paperback
Public historians working at museums and historic sites focused on the Civil War era are tasked with interpreting a period of history that remains deeply controversial. Many visitors have strong connections to historic sites such as battlefields and artifacts as well as harbor strong convictions about the cause of the war, its consequences and the importance of slavery. Interpreting the Civil War at Museums and Historic Sites surveys how museums and historic sites approached these challenges and others during the Civil War sesquicentennial (2011-2015). In doing so, this book offers museums and history professionals strategies to help shape conversations with local communities, develop exhibits and train interpreters. With the ongoing controversy surrounding the display of the Confederate battle flag and monuments, there has never been a more opportune moment to look critically at how the Civil War has been interpreted and why it continues to matter to so many Americans.

Each chapter is written by a professional public historian currently working at a museum or historic site. They cover topics such as:
  • Building relations with the public
  • How specific museums interpreted the war and overcame challenges of location, audience, funding
  • How the National Park Service and Georgia Historical Society approached commemorating important anniversaries
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers / AASLH
Pages: 120Size: 7 x 10
978-1-4422-7368-9 • Hardback • September 2017 • $68.00 • (£47.95)
978-1-4422-7369-6 • Paperback • September 2017 • $30.00 • (£19.95)
978-1-4422-7370-2 • eBook • September 2017 • $28.00 • (£18.95) (coming soon)
Kevin M. Levin is an award-winning historian and educator based in Boston and has taught American history on both the high school and college levels. He has written and lectured widely on the Civil War Era, historical memory, and public history. Over the years he has led numerous professional development workshops for history teachers at Ford's Theatre, the National Park Service, Massachusetts Historical Society and Yale's Gilder-Lehrman Center. He currently serves on the board of directors of the National Council for History Education.
Chapter 1: Among the Ruins: Creating and Interpreting the American Civil War in Richmond - Christy S. Coleman
Chapter 2: Billy Yank, not Johnny Reb: Focusing Civil War Exhibits on the Union in Virginia - Mark Benbow
Chapter 3: A Civil War Museum in Kenosha, Wisconsin? - Daniel Joyce, Douglas Dammann, Jennifer Edginton
Chapter 4: Civil War Public History For The Next Generation - James Percoco
Chapter 5: From Tokenism to True Partnership: The National Park Service’s Shifting Interpretation at the Civil War’s Sesquicentennial - John M. Rudy
Chapter 6: New Wine in Old Bottles: Using Historical Markers to Reshape Public Memory of the Civil War - W. Todd Groce
Chapter 7: Commemoration, Conflict, and Constraints: The Saga of the Confederate Flag at the South Carolina State House - Eric Emerson
Chapter 8: Getting to the Heart: The Intersections of Confederate Iconography, Race Relations, and Public History in America - Dina Bailey and Nicole Moore
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