We regularly hear from educators, parents, and scholars how challenging it can be to teach the Civil War era and its legacies. From gulfs between the academic scholarship and public understanding of the history, to a politicization of the history, to heated public conversations about Confederate iconography, the Civil War era can be a difficult topic to understand and discuss, let alone teach. Yet, as those who think about this period on a daily basis, the topics feel more relevant than ever.
Though our main location is here in Richmond, VA, we serve teachers from around the country, and even some internationally. This is the second year that we’ve made a concerted effort to reach educators from around the country to understand how they teach the Civil War era, what challenges they and their students face, and how the Museum and its resources can better address those challenges. Especially in advance of the Museum opening a new 28,500 ft2 building with a new flagship gallery and experience theater in spring 2019, we’re excited to use this higher profile moment to increase our reach and services for educators around the country.
Members of the Teacher Advisory Council serve for 12 months (with the option to join for subsequent years) and consist of educators from around the country. The Council advises the Museum on its existing offerings for educators (including field trip programs, virtual and classroom outreach programs, online resources, and teacher professional development), as well as possible future offerings for educators (including an online educator resource collection and discussion group). Past members have provided crucial formative feedback for the Museum’s new flagship exhibit.
In exchange for their time and expertise, members receive a complimentary membership to the Museum and any supporting documentation needed for potential re-certification points. However, even more valuable are the opportunities to network with educators from around the country and to work with staff to help shape the way that educators nationally understand and teach this history.
This year, the Council consists of educators from all across the country. We have members who are elementary educators, secondary educators, state social studies curriculum specialists, and college-level education instructors. They teach in rural, suburban, and urban areas, with one member who even works in a juvenile detention facility teaching incarcerated youth. No matter the stage in their career, we selected our participants to reflect this diverse range of experiences while bringing their passion for teaching history, especially the Civil War era.
Our 2018-2019 Teacher Advisory Council:
Valencia Ann Abbot – Reidsville, NC
Jennifer Collins – Platteville, WI
Nancy Cox – Austin, TX
Tomacine Crouch – Madison Heights, VA
Bruce Damasio – Towson, MD
David Freligh – Forrest City, AR
Kris McDaniel – Madison, WI
Sara Owens – Greenfield, IN
Kadie Patterson – Nashville, TN
Tyler Ramsay – Framingham, MA
Jason Rojee – Hopedale, MA
Meaghan Rymer – Richmond, VA
Erik Sassak – Roundhill, VA
Christina Saunders – Rockville, VA
Clarke Scott – Altavista, VA
Joseph Servis – Appomattox, VA
Nicole Stonestreet – Richmond, VA
Theresa Trexler – Wirtz, VA