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New-York Historical Society brings Civil War History to Life For Kids

Governors Island with Teen Historians and Camp History with Civil War-Era Photography for Kids and Tweens

NEW YORK, NY, June 24, 2014 — This summer, the New-York Historical Society will offer families two opportunities to discover the history of the Civil War on the occasion of its sesquicentennial (1861-65): NYC & the Civil War and Camp History. NYC & the Civil War, a pop-up exhibition on Governors Island curated by teen historians, recounts the history of America’s greatest conflict and the surprising role played by New York. For a week-long immersive experience, students in Camp History will go behind the scenes of one of the greatest collections of Civil War artifacts and make original photographs using Civil War era techniques.

“Our education programs help children and families develop independent views of history and strengthen their research, analysis and interpretation skills,” said Dr. Sharon Dunn, New-York Historical’s Vice President for Education. “We are very proud of our Student Historians’ hard work, creativity and intellect in bringing the transformative power of American history to families beyond our gallery walls.”

Civil War History Exhibition Curated by Teenagers
Searching the New-York Historical Society’s collection of photographs, newspapers, and works of art, Student Historian Teen Leaders have curated a nuanced view of America’s greatest conflict. Installed within a nineteenth-century home previously used by military officers on Governors Island’s Nolan Park, NYC & the Civil War is free and on view every weekend from July 5 through September 28, 2014.

“Researching the material for this exhibition, I learned a lot about the complexities that arose in our city during the Civil War,” said Andrew Sobelsohn, rising senior at Beacon High School in Manhattan. “While there were no battles in New York, the city embodied many of the tensions that divided the nation. At one end of the gallery, visitors see New York’s early support for Lincoln’s presidential candidacy at Cooper Union, and for the Union in a large procession with Ft. Sumter’s flag flying in Union Square. On the other end of the gallery, support dissolves in 1863 when violent riots broke out on city streets against the draft.”

In addition to researching the materials and narrative, Student Historian Teen Leaders have also prepared tours and educational activities to accompany the exhibit on Governors Island, which will be offered beginning the weekend of July 12. A Civil War-era garden also accompanies the exhibit and features botanicals that were used to treat illness and injury in soldiers.

This project is the latest produced by the New-York Historical Society’s Student Historian High School Internship Program, which received a 2012 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award for its effectiveness in developing learning and life skills in young people by engaging them in the arts and humanities. Presented by First Lady Michelle Obama on behalf of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) and other government agencies, the Program was one of 12 after-school and out-of-school programs across the country to receive the Award.

Camp History Brings the Past to Life
Back at the New-York Historical Society on Central Park West, kids and tweens are invited to participate in Camp History, a hands-on opportunity to research life during the Civil War and create photography using nineteenth-century processes. Campers will use the New-York Historical Society’s Museum and Library collections and meet with museum staff to discover fascinating stories and people from the Civil War. They will use their knowledge to style themselves and pose for actual tin-type photos shot by noted photographer Robert Christian Malmberg, who practices collodion/wet plate photography from the Civil War era.

Camp History will be offered in two sessions: one for rising fourth and fifth grade students (August 11-15), and another for rising sixth through eighth grade students (August 18-22). Participation in Camp History is $600 per session, per child ($500 per member child at Family level or higher) and includes daily snacks and all materials. Advanced registration required; contact camphistory@nyhistory.org to register.

Support for New-York Historical Society Education Programs
The Student Historians High School Internship Program is supported by The New York Life Foundation, Ray Lent and Placer Partners, and an endowment established by The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation.

About the New-York Historical Society
The New-York Historical Society, one of America’s pre-eminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research, presenting history and art exhibitions, and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical is the oldest museum in New York City. New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered political, cultural and social history of New York City and State and the nation, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.

Timothy Wroten, New-York Historical Society
(212) 873-3400 x326

Friday, June 27, 2014
Creative: Tronvig Group