The Journal
The Latest from the History Center
Newsletter March 25 - 29
March 29, 2019

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Civil War Program

Fourth grade students of Flowery Branch Elementary thoroughly enjoyed our Civil War program last Thursday. Museum Services Manager David French interpreted the life of the infantryman and Director of Education Ken Johnston interpreted the life of a sailor during the Civil War. They demonstrated various pieces of equipment and weaponry, described the daily life of soldiers and sailors, and talked about the use of musical instruments for both practical and entertainment purposes. As usual, we ended the program with a bang! David put himself up to the challenge of firing and reloading his rifle three times in under one minute. He made it just in time!


Ken takes a question from the audience


David demonstrates the use of drums for drills and communication


Students react to the firing of the rifle

Blacksmithing Demonstration

We frequently have home school groups visit the History Center for 18th or 19th century Daily Life Living History programs. One of the more popular presentations they choose is the Blacksmithing demonstration, as a recent home school group did today. About 20 students and 15 teacher-parents gathered in the Blacksmith shop to watch and ask questions as Director of Education Ken Johnston transformed a straight piece of iron bar stock with blunt ends into a simple tool – a pot hook, with curved and pointed ends. As the transformation was made using heat (from a coal fire) and tools (hammer and anvil) the students saw first-hand, and discussed, Georgia STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) concepts such as accelerants, convection, conductivity, metallurgy, and geology. Questions ranged from how to start the fire, what items the blacksmith made, to if there were still people working as blacksmiths. All in all, another successful engagement with students at the Northeast Georgia History Center!



Tour of Exhibits & Historic Structures

An excited group of fourth grade students took a self-guided tour of our exhibits and historic structures. Among their favorite exhibits was the tornado simulator. Watching the students excitedly go from exhibit to exhibit is a joy. Their curiosity and fascination with the past was certainly present during this tour!





Meeting President Lincoln

by Director of Education Ken Johnston

In our ongoing mission here at the Northeast Georgia History Center to be a resource for educators in public, private, and home-school settings we identify specific subjects or criteria mandated by the State Board of Education, the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSEs), and then provide specific Living History or Museum Theatre programming to meet them. The Fourth Grade GSE on the American Civil War is one of the areas we get the most requests for, specifically for programming on President Abraham Lincoln. When we get a request for programming on President Lincoln there are two ways we can deliver it to the students – an onsite Museum Theatre or a Digital Outreach Webcast.

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With the onsite Museum Theatre experience the school will come to the History Center as in a traditional field trip. Our Director of Education (me!) will then have a part scripted, part improvisational theatre presentation with the students. The students and I will have a Q&A session in character and end the show with a Q&A out of character, when I can address questions that the Lincoln of November 1864 can’t answer – usually concerning a certain night at Ford’s Theatre. After the performance the students then do a self-guided tour through the galleries and historic buildings.

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With a Digital Outreach Webcast the students will remain in their school, either in their classroom or in the school Media Center. Our Media Director Libba Beaucham sends a link to the educator Point of Contact, who then simply “clicks” on the link to connect their school to our Green Screen Studio – where Libba digitally inserts a photo of a facsimile 1860s Oval Office that I address the students in front just as I do in the Museum Theatre format.

Each of these formats has its advantage. With a visit to the History Center for the Museum Theatre experience, the students also have the benefit of seeing the life “in person” objects in the galleries and historic buildings. In the Digital Outreach Webcast, however, we get to spend more time on the Q&A sessions and one on one conversation. It’s interesting to us that we’ve found we book a comparable number of each type of program – which indicates they’re not in competition but are rather complementary approaches to a school’s particular need.

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Let’s close with acknowledgement of the subject of this oft requested program – Abraham Lincoln. As such a pivotal figure in American history through our country’s most destructive trial, teachers often express how glad they are that we can show their students the person behind the monuments. As the person who has the opportunity to portray Mr. Lincoln I can attest that the students (and teachers) are fascinated by him and delighted to talk with him – by proxy, of course. They ask a great many personal questions, about his family losses, about his youth of hard work and study – and of course about his stove pipe hat! Gratifying for us here at the History Center is what this type of engagement and interaction means for our goal of Living History to inform, educate, and entertain – whether digital or in person, it works.

Then Again with Ken & Glen

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Have you listened to our podcast yet? Then Again with Ken & Glen explores topics in history and how they connect to our present-day experiences. Our latest episode covers the ethical responsibility of screenwriters and storytellers when writing a story that is "based on a true story." Listen to the episode at this link: Then Again with Ken & Glen

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This addition of From the Archives is for all of our stamp collectors out there! Stamp collecting is a fun and interesting way to appreciate the past. They represent a specific time in our history, and oftentimes will serve as a way to educate the public. Here are some notable stamps from our archives.

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The Confederate Post Office was established on February 21, 1861, months before the Civil War actually began, but it wasn't until June of 1861 that the Confederacy provided postage stamps and mail services for the Confederate States. There were fourteen types of stamps issued by the Confederate States during the Civil War. The stamp pictured above, depicting Jefferson Davis, was type 10 and issued in 1863.

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U.S. #498 was issued in 1917 and remained current for six years. This was the first stamp to have 11 perforations. Sometimes two stamps will look very similar and the only way to tell the difference is by the number of perforations. Because this has 11, we know that it is from the 1917 series.

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U.S. #899 was issued in 1940 to increase public awareness of the need for a strong national defense. An avid stamp collector himself, President Franklin Roosevelt provided sketches of what he wanted the stamp to look like to the Post Office Department. The final design is very close to that sketch. During his presidency, Roosevelt promoted the importance of stamps by personally approving more than 200 stamp designs. He also suggested topics and designed some himself.

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Forum - To Be Announced!
Tuesday, April 9th from 7-8 PM
$3 or Free for Members
Please stay tuned for our next Forum topic and speaker on April 9th.

Taste of History 2019
Thursday, April 11th at 6PM
$125 per ticket
Our annual fundraiser Taste of History will celebrate Sandra and Nathan Deal for their lifetime of service. The event will take place at the Ramsey Conference Center at Lanier Technical College on Thursday, April 11th at 6PM. A plated dinner will be served and we'll have an open bar with beer and wine. Sponsorships of $1,500 and up are available. To purchase tickets or inquire about a sponsorship, please call 770-297-5900.

Family Day The Civil War in North Georgia
Sunday, April 14th from 1-4PM at the History Center
FREE thanks to the Ada Mae Ivester Education Center
An examination of the Civil War's effects in North Georgia, this family-friendly event features living-history demonstrations, hands-on activities, games and museum theater performances.

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For more fascinating photos and information on our region's past, follow our social media!



The Northeast Georgia History Center at Brenau University - 322 Academy St NE Gainesville, GA 30501 - 770.297.5900 -