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New Orientation Film Debuts at National Battlefield

Fort Donelson National Battlefield

National Park News

New Orientation Film Debuts at National Battlefield

Dover, Tennessee—The story is still the same, but Fort Donelson National Battlefield now has a new approach for helping visitors learn about the 1862 battle. The recent installation of the multimedia production, Fort Donelson: Gateway to the Confederate Heartland, offers visitors a little more insight into why the battle happened and how it affected Americans for years to come.

The old orientation film had been shown at the park for the past 44 years. Last month, park staff began showing the new audiovisual for visitors and schools. Aperture Films, Ltd., Los Angeles, California, in coordination with the park staff, wrote and produced the 16-minute audiovisual (AV). Visitor response to the new AV program has been great. Local Kindergarten students from Dover Elementary School came to see the new program just last week.

Fort Donelson: Gateway to the Confederate Heartland engages visitors with a storyline that draws on the lifelong friendship between Union General Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate General Simon B. Buckner. Emphasis is still placed on the 1862 battles at Forts Henry and Donelson and its military significance. Park visitors also learn a couple of new facts: Confederates actually built three earthen forts, one named Fort Heiman, which was built just across the Tennessee River in Calloway County, Kentucky, and that these forts were eventually used as safe havens by freedom-seeking slaves.

The film’s storyline is enhanced with an original music score composed by renowned artist Bobby Horton, Birmingham, Alabama. The film includes several animated maps to explain the battle story, and battle re-enactment footage filmed at the park using local re-enactors with the 50th Tennessee Infantry (CSA).

Stop by the Visitor Center, located on Highway 79, and view the new program. The Visitor Center is open daily, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The film is shown every half-hour. For more information, contact the Ranger staff at 931-232-5706.


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