The following is a guest post from Jeff Mummert

For teachers and students throughout the world: There will be an educational Civil War “alternate reality” game beginning May 15th, 2011, hosted by the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA.

The game, titled “The Jewel of the Valleys,” is being run in support of the fundraiser “In Their Footsteps: On the March in Pennsylvania,” which benefits the education department of the Museum.

The game will run the length of the fundraiser, in which the brave museum curator, Brett Kelley, will again choose to live the life of a Civil War soldier for two weeks. Last year, Brett chose to live outdoors as a Union soldier (and it coincided with two of the nastiest northeastern blizzards) last February. This year, Brett will be traveling as a Confederate soldier by foot from Fredericksburg, VA to Harrisburg.

The game will kick off with a “QR code” and web address being sent to educators and students around the country. The website will detail a dark and mysterious puzzle to be solved through the use of Civil War era communication technologies and authentic Civil War documents in the Museum’s archives.

Students may work collaboratively are on their own to follow the mystery. The  ultimate objective of the game is to solve the mystery of “The Jewel of the Valleys.” The winner(s) of the game will be announced as Brett reaches the end of his journey- the Civil War Museum in Harrisburg.

How can you help, get involved, or just have fun?
-Email this to anyone who may be interested (it is really difficult for the Museum to find the email addresses of Social Studies department teachers in school districts), especially teachers who teach the Civil War.
-Organize a team of students to participate through the “Jewel of the Valleys” wiki at, you can join the wiki, ask for a page just for your team, decorate it, follow the game, brag about achievements, collaborate, etc.
-Offer to students as an after school activity, “club” activity, bellringer, extra credit, or classroom competition.
-Play yourself!

The mysterious document will be revealed on May 15th. On the conclusion of Brett’s march on May 30th, prizes and certificates will be announced for the following:

Best Middle School Individual Historian
Best Middle School Team
Best High School Individual Historian
Best High School Team

Despite the prizes, it will honestly be quite fun and educational, as updates and clues will be revealed along the way through various forms of media (including social media), leading the public toward the elusive “Jewel of the Valleys.” See attachments for a promo poster (a few clues in it!), and a snippet from the mysterious document.

To donate to the fundraiser– go to

To follow Brett’s journey, subscribe to and/or follow @cwsoldier24_7 on Twitter

To see what Brett did last year (during two massive blizzards), go to

Good luck and happy gaming (and learning)!

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