Civil War Grafitti Soldiers

this workshop is focused on graffiti houses houses in Virginia where Civil War soldiers left graffiti of some sort and we're using that graffiti as a way to develop a perspective on the Civil War focused on individual soldiers so people who leave graffiti very often leave their names in their units which means that we can do research and flesh out their individual stories children are very expressive and they love to write and they love to create and for them to be able to witness and see how a Civil War soldier through their trials and tribulations were able to express how they felt about the war the grounds that you see around you were reportedly to have been filled with mooning soldiers within hours this is informal this is a kind of genre of communication and self-expression that still makes sense to students in a way that letter writing just doesn't anymore it's one thing to have a collection of resources that you find online it would take out of a book it's an entirely another one to go into the archives pull out the recorders Dorian's do and physically handle material objects it's a very powerful kind of research you know they're handling documents that these soldiers handle a few hundred years ago they're going to the heart of the government records system you're sitting there touching a piece of paper that somebody in Pennsylvania was touching a hundred and forty years ago only the readings or out of a tin of 86 out of 82 so you get a rating out of what do you have to get 18 points let me get into it is and then we follow that pattern out to get his burg where we're looking particularly at the memorials and cemetery places again where the names of individual soldiers are recorded on the landscape and then we bring all of that together at the end of the week and the teachers working in groups build online exhibits telling the story of one of the soldiers who left graffiti like that we're making these names come to life and giving these people who served and nobody remembered that art of memory is so powerful to me just sort of this idea of creating a flesh-and-blood person out of just sort of a letter and a photograph is really powerful I might not be able to bring their classes here but they can speak in a very personal way to their students about their own encounters with these records and with these places and with that combination of Records and places that is a different way of encountering history in a different way of engaging people to history you

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