Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American
Civil War Commission
members present: Speaker William J. Howell, Delegate Albert C. Eisenberg,
Delegate Algie T. Howell, Jr., and Dr. Charles F. Bryan, Jr.
Speaker Howell called the meeting to order and welcomed members. He announced
that this would be the last meeting of any of the Commission's subcommittees
for the year.
BRIEFING: BATTLEFIELD PRESERVATION GRANTS
Kilpatrick, Director, Department of Historic Resources
Kathleen Kilpatrick briefed the Commission on recent awards made from
the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Fund, which received an appropriation
of $5 million during the 2008 General Assembly session. The funds require
a 2:1 match, yielding $15 million for battlefield preservation. The Department
of Historic Resources established criteria for grant disbursement and
affirmative recruitment to ensure that the highest priority sites were
protected. Twenty-one grants have been disbursed to four nonprofits, protecting
over 1,500 acres.
In response to questions, it was noted that of 384 priority battlefields
identified by Congress, one-third are in Virginia. Ms. Kilpatrick indicated
that, while the state is doing well in terms of acres that have been preserved,
there is still a lot of work to be done protecting remaining threatened
land in the Commonwealth.
PRESERVATION TRUST: 2009 TEACHER INSTITUTE
Jim Campi discussed the Civil War Preservation Trust's (CWPT) very successful
Teacher Institute program, which is held over a three-day period and involves
as many as 200 teachers from across the country. The 2009 Civil War Teacher
Institute will be held in Spotsylvania County from July 24-26. The goal
of the Institute is to impart in teachers not only a better understanding
of the Civil War for themselves, but also to give them the tools to teach
the Civil War, including how to incorporate battlefield interpretation.
Mr. Campi invited the Commission to partner with the CWPT on the 2009
Institute, in ways that could include: (i) endorsing the Teacher Institute;
(ii) offering a letter of welcome to be included in the Teacher Resource
book; (iii) advertising Commission events and its website in the Teacher
Resource book; (iv) sending Commission members to participate in the Institute;
(v) screening the educational DVD for teachers; and (vi) providing resource
materials for teachers in the exhibit area. Staff was directed to work
with Mr. Campi to establish a partnership for the 2009 Civil War Teacher
"VIRGINIA IN THE CIVIL WAR, 1859-1865: A SESQUICENTENNIAL REMEMBRANCE"
Producer/Director, Blue Ridge Public Television
Members of the Executive Committee previewed segments of the DVD being
produced by Blue Ridge Public Television under the direction of Dr. James
I. Robertson, Jr. The DVD is scheduled for completion in June 2009, with
distribution beginning in August 2009. It will be distributed, free of
charge, to every school, library, and historical society in Virginia.
Members of the Executive Committee also asked that attention be given
to distribution outside of the Commonwealth, including a partnership with
The History Channel.
Danielle Watkins provided an update on committed donors and pending prospects
to the Civil War Sesquicentennial Foundation as well as a plan for donor
1 - COORDINATION
Cheryl Jackson gave the report of Workgroup 1, which is chaired by Senator
Colgan and oversees the statewide coordination effort.
95 of the 134 counties and cities have established local sesquicentennial
committees to work with the Commission and plan commemorative events.
Staff communicates regularly with the local liaisons through a listserv
and periodic meetings of the Civil War 150 Local Committee Roundtable.
Workgroup is developing recommendations to place kiosks throughout the
state with information on Civil War-related travel destinations, based
on the interactive "Then/Now" map on the Commission's website.
There are currently 35 kiosks in operation in Virginia's state parks,
which the Department of Conservation and Recreation has offered to partner
with the Commission in creating a larger statewide network of kiosks.
The Executive Committee directed staff to form a workgroup to further
develop the recommendations, composed of representatives of the Virginia
Tourism Corporation, Virginia Department of Transportation, Department
of Conservation and Recreation, National Park Service, Dominion Power,
and Imperial Multimedia.
to Localities: Earlier in 2008, the Commission made funds available
to offer matching grants in conjunction with local committees for marketing
of sesquicentennial events that support the goals of the commemoration.
The grant program will be administered by the Virginia Tourism Corporation,
with the first application window opening in January 2009. The Executive
Committee will have review oversight and make final decisions on grant
for Letters of Support: Staff reviewed the Memorandum of Understanding
that local committees and others who desire to use the Commission's logo
must sign, as well as criteria for letters of support or endorsements
by the Commission. In all cases, third parties must agree to work in concert
with and furtherance of the Commission's goals for the commemoration,
which include diversity, inclusiveness, accessibility, education, and
positive long-term legacy. Requests for letters of support or endorsement
will be brought to the Executive Committee for approval.
WORKGROUP 2 - SIGNATURE EVENTS
Cheryl Jackson provided an update on the plans of Workgroup 2, which is
chaired by Speaker Howell and is charged with oversight of Signature Events
The first official sesquicentennial event in the nation is the Commission's
inaugural Signature Conference, "America on the Eve of the Civil
War." It will be a day-long conference held at the University of
Richmond on Wednesday, April 29, 2009. Members were briefed on the schedule
and asked to consider an invitation list.
Themes and Signature
Conferences 2010 - 2015: The Executive Committee discussed the future
schedule for annual conferences, as well as the establishment of themes
highlighting a wide range of subjects throughout the commemoration. After
a discussion on the merits of providing a full array of programs that
includes homefront, social and cultural themes as well as battlefront
and military themes, Dr. Bryan moved, and Del. A. T. Howell seconded,
adoption of the themes and conference schedule as presented. The motion
was approved unanimously.
event: Staff continue to work with representatives of the West Virginia
legislature and Harper's Ferry National Historical Park to plan a joint-state
event that will serve as the national kickoff of the sesquicentennial.
The event is scheduled for June 25, 2009.
pilot program: The Library of Virginia is working with the Danville
and Washington County sesquicentennial committees to conduct a pilot of
the document scanning project. The pilot will be held on November 22 at
the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville.
3 - EDUCATION
Brenda Edwards briefed the Commission on the progress of Workgroup 3,
which is chaired by Delegate Algie Howell and is charged with oversight
of the education component of the commemoration. The workgroup has formed
an Ad Hoc Subcommittee, chaired by Sen. Locke, to review the various methodologies
for teaching American Civil War history, address the hard and controversial
issues of the Civil War and its legacy that teachers may encounter in
the classroom and options for dealing with controversies in the classroom,
review the "message" of various sesquicentennial initiatives,
and recommend alternatives to resolve concerns. Dr. Stephen Rockenback
outlined academic approaches to teaching Civil War history, which include
narrative, thematic, and community history approaches.
The Workgroup supports
the idea of a one-stop, comprehensive resource for educators, and to that
end, is developing a Compendium on the Sesquicentennial of the American
Civil War for Educators. The workgroup is also recommending two Law School
Symposia. The first would be a moot court held in 2011, highlighting legal
issues surrounding the separation of West Virginia and Virginia. The second
is scheduled for 2013, in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the
Emancipation Proclamation, to examine the historical, political, social,
and legal context of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the United
States Constitution, the import of these Amendments on the rule of law,
and their legacy in modern times.
Speaker Howell recognized
Dr. Charles F. Bryan, Jr. on his retirement from the Virginia Historical
Society, thanked him for his vision on the sesquicentennial and his service
to the Commission, and presented him with a gift. Dr. Paul A. Levengood
will succeed Dr. Bryan.
The Hon. William
Brenda Edwards, Danielle Watkins, DLS Staff
of Legislative Services > Legislative
Record > 2008
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