Ohio Civil War project launched 11.18.2009

Written by David Green.

What do Ohioans today know about the state’s Civil War story? Are they aware that Ohio’s contribution to the Civil War had a profound influence on American history? Have they visited any of the Underground Railroad sites or Civil War battlefields in the state?

To help raise awareness about Ohio’s pivotal role in Civil War history, the Ohio Historical Society and the Cleveland State University’s Center for Public History and Digital Humanities recently launched www.ohiocivilwar150.org to commemorate the upcoming 150th anniversary of the war in 2011 to 2015.

The website includes a collection of information and serves as a dynamic tool for the public, educators and local history groups to collaborate and share their knowledge of Ohio’s fascinating Civil War history.

Interactive History

The Ohio Civil War 150 website is a new approach to observe the anniversary of the war, according to Jackie Barton, state coordinator of the Civil War 150 commemoration at the Ohio Historical Society. It was created to engage users to develop Ohio’s historical importance in the war through public input and file sharing.

There are numerous opportunities to share information by submitting content on the site’s Calendar, Timeline, Discussions, Collections & Exhibits and Links pages. For instance, the Timeline, which outlines the progression of Ohio’s involvement in the abolition movement and the Civil War, is an ongoing collaborative project in which the public can submit pictures, summaries and links relating to a historical event during this period. In addition, the Web site provides opportunities for users to ask questions as well as discuss and debate Civil War topics in the Discussions forum.

“This Web site is a grassroots effort,” Barton said. “As a clearinghouse of statewide events, news and external resources relating to the Civil War anniversary, we encourage the community and local history groups to upload relevant information and external links to the Ohio Civil War 150 website.”

Collections & Exhibits

The Ohio Civil War 150 website includes opportunities for the citizens to educate themselves through online exhibits on such topics as “Women on the Frontlines,” “Ohio Volunteer Infantry” and “The Colors of War: Ohio Civil War Flags.”

With the participation of local historical groups and the public, the website’s Collections & Exhibits database will grow and become a clearinghouse of historical photographs and digitized artifacts, scanned documents and diaries as well as current event and reenactment photographs submitted to the site.

Teaching Resources

The anniversary of the Civil War is an excellent opportunity for teachers to introduce Ohio’s Civil War history to a new generation of students. The Teaching Resources section of the website offers a wealth of learning opportunities for educators and students through file sharing, online exhibits, field trip suggestions, submitted lesson plans and activities, distance-learning opportunities and external resources.

“To help connect Ohio’s Civil War history with their students, teachers are encouraged to share their resources by submitting lesson plans, activities and links to the website,” Barton said. “We want this site to be the ultimate educational resource.”

Website visitors are encouraged to check back often as it grows over time. As content and resources related to the Civil War and the upcoming sesquicentennial commemoration are added, the opportunities to participate in events, visit historic sites and learn more about Ohio history will increase.

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