Monday, March 17, 2008

Things Are Quite Busy

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone. Its hard to believe that its already mid-March and madness is in the air. In looking at my calendar for the next 60 days and things look rather busy. A laundry list, if you will:

1. I just finished a weekend at Bentonville Battlefield for their annual anniversary commemoration. I was helping with artillery demonstrations/interpretation and inspecting reenactors weapons. All in all a relaxed and enjoyable weekend.

2. One of the projects I'm currently involved in at work is the development of an educational unit on the Civil War for 8th grade students. This is to be launched just prior to the upcoming sesquicentennial to give teachers an option other than their textbooks for teaching about the Civil War in North Carolina. Chris Graham and I have been working on this alongside our supervisor. So far, we've been working on the overall narrative and have now started visiting all of the sites that have any type of Civil War story to tell to find out what they think should be included in the teaching unit regarding their site. These site visits will continue throughout the month of April, keeping us on the road quite a lot.

3. I am also neck deep in planning two large programs, the History Bowl State Championship and our black powder certification course. The History Bowl (see right column of web page for more info) is a quiz bowl style competition for 8th graders and focuses on North Carolina history. We have regional competitions, sponsored by various sites, all around the state. The regional winners come to Raleigh in May to compete for the state title. Lots of logistics involved in planning this one. Three weeks after the History Bowl, we will be holding our black powder small arms certification course at Vance Birthplace. Like the National Park Service, our staff that participate in or supervise black powder demonstrations at sites have to go through certification every four years. We do small arms one year and artillery the next. This year's small arms class is a large class (close to 40), but should be a lot of fun. However, it is also a lot of work, so its keeping me busy too.

4. I'm also doing a lot of reading and writing. As aforementioned, I've finished a book review that will appear in the next issue of Civil War Book Review. I am also reviewing Wolf of the Deep (see sidebar of blog) for Military Collector and Historian and have been asked to do another review for the Journal of Nautical Research (more on that in a later post). Last week I was contacted again by Troy Kickler, editor of the North Carolina History Project about doing a couple of entries for their online encyclopedia. I have written five entries already, all on Civil War topics. This time he has asked that I write two entries on 1812 subjects Otway Burns and Johnston Blakely. These entries are 300-500 words and the biggest challenge is making them so brief without leaving out important information.

5. And of course, there are the living history programs, including Halifax Day and the Battle of Plymouth Living History Weekend, among others that I will certainly blog about when the time comes.

6. Oh yeah, and I still have three online classes I'm teaching. I'd better get started on grading those mid-term exams!

All I can say is keep checking in for updates on these and many other projects. That is of course, when I have time to blog.

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