The Mütter Museum Links High School Classroom to Untold Civil War Stories
Today’s classroom is full of Civil War stories, but very few explore the impact the war had on the future of medical advancements in the United States. The Mütter Museum, America’s best-known museum of medical history located in Philadelphia, has developed online lessons to share the untold social and medical dimensions of the Civil War with high school students and teachers nationwide.
The lessons, which are free and available to all, explore unique topics including:
- How the ambulance system, emergency rooms, and the use of anesthesia all originated during the war;
- What it was like to fight, to become sick or injured, to take care of the wounded;
- How the nursing profession evolved and flourished as people–mostly women–volunteered to work day and night to relieve the suffering of soldiers; and
- How the medical establishment understood the bodies of African American soldiers.
Each lesson follows a common format featuring learning objectives, time required, key words, background, recommended websites, and Pennsylvania Education Standards. Importantly, lessons include case studies and role plays based on primary sources to immerse students in the medical thinking of the Civil War era. Primary sources include soldiers’ letters, official reports, newspaper coverage, and medical pamphlets and treatises of the era.
Explore all ten lessons from The Mütter Museum or join Robert Hicks, director of the Mütter Museum, in a nine-part online miniseries that explores the vital role of people, places, and events in Civil War era Philadelphia.
Kevin Honeycutt has developed an excellent website for integrating technology to teach the Civil War. This collaborative learning project is focused around the H.L. Hunley, the famous Confederate submarine. This website is provides an in depth look into the history of the H.L. Hunley along with providing a great collection of links, photographs and videos. Let’s take a look at some of the different pages and sections of the site.
According to the page, the challenge for students is to “Partner up with another classroom and create a ten minute documentary telling the story of the H.L. Hunley.” The photos section of the website provides a nice collection of photographs related to the Hunley along with some additional links to Hunley related lesson plans. The Starter Videos Section provides links to a few videos related to the Hunley along with a great article about how Archeology Meets Technology. Finally, the Hunley Blog page contains a place where students place their artifacts, discuss their projects, share photos along with sharing their research and findings.
There is a great quote by Kevin on the website that says, “By allowing kids to collaborate with others online we allow learners to build and flex new muscles. These muscles will serve them well for the rest of their lives!” I could not agree more.
Here are some additional websites related to the Hunley for your viewing pleasure:
UPDATED: Check out Kevin’s Tell the Story of the Hunley PBL site
Until next time…
Here is a cool link that I cam across recently, a database of battlefield and historical markers.
According to the website, “Listed here are blog entries, pages, and links to marker lists which detail the historical markers located on Civil War battlefields.” It goes on to say, “The intent is to offer “virtual tours” of the battlefield by way of historical markers. A “tour” may cover an entire battle (where the number of markers is small) or just a segment of a larger battlefield. Each tour set offers between three to thirty marker entries. The individual marker entries vary in quality, however. The best entries offer not only a photo and text on the marker, but also subject and area photographs in order to reinforce the interpretation. The entries also offer links to more information about the events discussed on the marker.”
So, if we look at the Battle of Kernstown (fought on March 23, 186), you can see 18 different historical markers related to this battle. Here is an example of one of the markers:
Now, what is REALLY cool is that it gives you the map coordinates of where to find the marker. So, while the database does give you a Google map to look at, you could have your students paste this (or several of the markers) into Google Earth and then create a Google Earth tour or add the information to an existing tour that you may have created.