Until his retirement, my dad was a social studies teacher at the high school level. Most often we told people he was a history professor as that was the easiest way to explain it. As a child we would hit the road each summer pulling our pop-up, Starcraft camper behind the car as we set out to explore America. Some of my fondest memories of those trips were our visits to some of America’s Civil War Battlefields. I can still picture the beauty of the area around the “bloody pond” at Shiloh and how my 10-year old mind pictured what it must have been like during the Civil War. Growing up in Southeast Kansas it was a simple trip to neighboring Arkansas and a visit to Pea Ridge National Military Park. I visited Pea Ridge battlefield again while my brother attended the University Arkansas and still have the photos of what is one of the best preserved battlefields in the country.
My 9-year old son has become a history buff – particularly World War II and the Civil War. So you might be asking, how does this relate to nonprofits and technology? I have already lost about an hour of work this morning as I perused www.civilwar.org the re-launched website for the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT). I expect to spend an hour or more at home tonight as my son and I “visit” numerous Civil War Battlefields. The point is that the site reaches, engages and inspires people to support the organization.
This is an amazing site that not only educates, but compels visitors to become engaged. The team at CWPT, Threespot and the Convio team that helped with the site did an excellent job of designing the site from the perspective of the visitor – not an easy task when you are trying to reach historians, teachers, 9-year olds and their dads and other people who will advocate and give to help preserve America’s Battlefield heritage. You can check out the press release issued today about the re-launch to learn more about the success and elements of the site. With interactive maps, blogs, photos and much more there is truly something for everyone.
Just as important to me – my son and I can tour the battlefields from home. I predict that this site will play a pivotal role in the planning of our next summer vacation – as he picks which battlefields we want to visit. I hope grandpa and grandma can go to share the family time and create fond memories like the ones I cherish, as well as share the history of our country. It’s cool how technology can help keep history alive (and keep me from doing my day job). Seriously, take 15 minutes watching the Battle of Fredericksburg animated map and let me know if that doesn’t turn into another 30 minutes digging deeper into the maps and site….how could it not?
Congratulations Civil War Preservation Trust!