Thirty social studies teachers from across the state will take part next week [June 17-22] in the second Social Studies Teachers' Summer Institute at Mississippi State.
Focusing on the American Civil War--whose 150th anniversary now is being observed--the institute's highlights will include a performance Monday [the 17th] by Alabama native Bobby Horton, widely recognized as one of the country's leading authorities of music from the Civil War period.
Free and open to all, the concert begins at 7 p.m. in the McComas Hall main theater.
A veteran performer, composer and music historian, Horton has produced and performed musical scores for 13 PBS films by Ken Burns (http://www.florentinefilms.com/), including "The Civil War" and "Baseball," two A&E television network films and 16 films for the National Park Service.
Horton has recorded 14 volumes of authentic Civil War tunes in his home studio--playing all of the period-era instruments and singing all the parts himself.
Other key elements of the institute's program include a keynote lecture by Dwight Pitcaithley, a New Mexico State University professor and former chief National Park Service historian, and a lecture on the "Role of Women in the Civil War" by Texas Woman's University professor emeritus Martha Swain of Starkville.
The institute is sponsored by the NPS's Shiloh and Vicksburg national military parks, along with MSU Libraries and the campus-based Ulysses S. Grant Association. Funded through a park service "Teaching History through Civics" grant, it provides on-campus lodging, transportation to and from historic sites, and meals throughout the week.
Teachers attending the institute also will have an opportunity to view the new U.S. Grant Presidential Library exhibit recently opened in MSU's Mitchell Memorial Library. MSU is one of only five universities in the nation to share such a distinction.
Earlier this year, MSU President Mark E. Keenum received a letter from Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero of the National Archives congratulating the university on the presidential library designation. The National Archives has responsibility for 13 presidential libraries across the nation, including libraries affiliated with the universities of Michigan (Gerald R. Ford) and Texas (Lyndon Johnson), as well as Texas A & M (George H.W. Bush) and Southern Methodist (George W. Bush) universities.
Institute participants include public, private and home-school teachers. The curriculum is designed to assist history and social studies educators in teaching 21st century students the relevancy of the monumental 1861-65 military struggle between North and South.
Campus activities will be held in Mitchell Memorial Library. In addition to the programs led by Civil War scholars, the six-day schedule will involve visits to Shiloh and Vicksburg. Excursions also will include Corinth--from which the Shiloh assault was launched and, later, the site of another major battle--as well as the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson and the private Starkville Artillery Museum.
"Teachers always are working hard to present the best information possible to their students, and this institute will give those who teach social studies the opportunity to interact with leading historians of the Civil War and improve their effectiveness in the classroom," said John F. Marszalek, Grant Association executive director and retired MSU faculty member.
For more information on MSU's Mitchell Memorial Library and the Grant Presidential Library, see www.library.msstate.edu.
For more information about Mississippi State University, see www.msstate.edu