Jewel_of_the_Valleys.jpgA great opportunity for students is being offered, free, by the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA. An “alternate reality” game entitled “The Jewel of the Valleys” will begin on May 15th, for students, classes, teachers, and the general public.

The game will revolve around a mysterious document discovered in the Museum’s vaults, and will prompt students to analyze primary documents, as well as introduce them to Civil War-era communications technology.The game involves the invasion in 1863, but also many of the larger issues and experiences of the war, so it fits well in many curricula, both PA and nationwide.

The game will also coincide with, and intertwine with, Museum Curator Brett Kelley’s incredible march from Fredericksburg, VA to Harrisburg from May 16-30th as a Confederate soldier, following the track of General Ewell’s men as they invaded Pennsylvania in 1863. Kelley’s march will be followed by Hershey High School students in their blog at, offering constant updates, videos, and images of Brett’s handwritten journals during the march.
The march and the game are both part of a creative and exciting fundraiser for the Education Department of the National Civil War Museum.

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:snip.png

  • 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.

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