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Vicksburg National Military Park Sesquicentennial Commemoration Goes On The Road

Vicksburg National Military Park

National Park News

Rangers at Vicksburg National Military Park have taken the park’s mission on the road to bring the story of the Campaign and Siege of Vicksburg to local communities, libraries, museums, and schools, helping a wide audience to learn about and honor the nation's history.   These efforts have created close-to-home learning opportunities to help both children and adults ‘Experience Their America. ‘

These programs are part of Vicksburg National Military Park’s Sesquicentennial outreach effort, Along the Campaign Trail, conducted by a dedicated team of interpreters during a year-long effort to bring these stories not only to park visitors, but to educational and public entities throughout the region.   Their repertoire encompasses a variety of outreach and children’s programs, including themed traveling trunks, lesson plan outlines, and hands-on park activities.   The wide array of topics covers Civilian and Soldier Life, Civil War Medicine, Life in the Union Navy, Master Chef Civil War Style – Cooking and Food During the Civil War, and Civil War Music, Games and Entertainment.   Favorite activities have included an overnight Soldiers Camp for 4th graders and music programs where children create camp instruments, form a camp band, then play along to period music.   As one young musician noted, “…we can make a lot of noise without getting in trouble…”

The outreach effort also challenges local school children to participate in First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, with ranger-led “Fitness Fridays” allowing the students to participate in outdoor Civil War Games (including a particular favorite – the running of the Hard Tack Relay), learn Civil War-era dance steps and etiquette, and participate in the “School of the Soldier” where the children experience the life and drill of a Civil War soldier.

The interpretive team also provides adult programs, covering a wide variety of topics ranging from specifics of the Vicksburg Campaign to Preservation and Projects at Vicksburg National Military Park to researching Civil War Ancestors.   Participants in these programs have included the mayor of Port Gibson, MS, who traces his ancestry back to the African-American slave that guided Grant’s army to the road leading to Port Gibson and the subsequent Union victory, members of the Clinton Genealogical Society and Yazoo City Genealogical Society, the Vicksburg Master Gardeners Association,  the  Director of the Museum of the Mississippi Delta, Port Hudson State Historic Site in Louisiana, and many local and regional libraries, teachers, and schools.

More information about programs, lesson plans and traveling trunks, can be found on the Vicksburg National Military Park website's For Teachers section.


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