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Tuesday, 11 August 2009
"Off the Beaten Path" segment
My latest radio spot for AM 1230: Spotsylvania Confederate Cemetery

Posted by ny5/pinstripepress at 9:25 AM EDT
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Monday, 10 August 2009

As many of you know, I am the Vice-Chairman of the National Civil War Life Foundation. Today I am VERY pleased to share the following announcment:

The National Civil War Life Foundation Awarded Prestigious Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services

August 10, 2009: Fredericksburg, VA  - Thanks to a $150,000 grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), The National Civil War Life Museum will be able to support the design, fabrication and installation of two exhibits, Life in Camp and Technology and Armament and War. Life in Camp will focus on recreating camp life with objects used daily by soldiers. Technology, Armament and War will include artifacts and newspapers of the time period highlighting the influence of the industrial revolution, involvement and diversity of civilian factory workers, and innovation and ingenuity of the Civil War era. Both exhibits will become permanent installations in the museum’s Civil War Life Gallery. The project coincides with the 2011 Civil War Sesquicentennial commemoration.

"The Civil War is the defining event in American history since the founding of our Republic. Many of us have studied its history, battles, tactics and strategy; some have delved into the fundamental causes and the dominant political, economic, and human rights issues. However, we cannot truly comprehend the magnitude and impact of the Civil War era unless we take time to understand the bravery and sacrifices, individually and collectively, of those who fought on both sides, and all whose lives that were indelibly shaped and affected before, during and in the aftermath of this epic struggle. To this day we still live with the legacy, outcome, and consequences of the Civil War." - Col. Horace McCaskill Jr., USA, (Ret) – Chairman of the Board, National Civil War Life Foundation.

"As repositories of our nation’s treasures and our nation’s history, museums are positioned to play and integral role in the education of their communities. Museums for America grants support projects and ongoing activities that build museums’ capacities and help these institutions serve their diverse constituencies to the best of their abilities." - Dr. Anne-Imelda M. Radice, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services

IMLS received 433 applications requesting more than $48.4 million. Of these 167 projects were selected to receive $19,176,000. The projects selected represent a wide spectrum of activities that will help museums serve their communities better through increased education programs, community outreach programs and behind-the-scenes projects.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit

Posted by ny5/pinstripepress at 4:24 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 10 August 2009 4:30 PM EDT
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Hot off the press

I just finished typing up my review of “The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson” for the Free Lance-Star. I’ll post a copy here when it goes to press. An updated version of a previous publication, this new book is truly a homegrown title. Researched and written by NPS Volunteer Chris Mackowski and Ranger/Historian Kris White, it was produced by local graphic-designer Jackson Foster and funded by the Friends of Fredericksburg Area Battlefields. According to John Hennessy, Chief Historian and Chief of Interpretation at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, this book is the first in what will be a series of publications to come out jointly under the NPS and FOFAB logo. Also in the pipeline are titles on the Wilderness and Ellwood, Chancellorsville, Chatham, and Clara Barton. Each will be produced locally and released through Thomas Publications. I find this extremely exciting as its always great to see regional histories flourishing.

On a related note, I just spoke with my rep at The History Press and they have begun production on my newest title as part of the Civil War Sesquicentennial Series. Today the marketing dept. officially settled on the title: “The Civil War in Spotsylvania County: Confederate Campfires at the Crossroads.” Projects like these are extra-special to me as it's an opportunity to share history on a local level. (Stay tuned for updates as the finished piece progresses.)

Posted by ny5/pinstripepress at 4:07 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 10 August 2009 4:11 PM EDT
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Thursday, 6 August 2009
NCWLF spot

Film director Clint Ross was nice enough to send me some raw still frames from the commercial we shot for the National Civil War Life Foundation. I have to present this project to the museum board in a couple weeks and these images show the two different segments (Spotsylvania Battlefield and the Museum Gallery). I’ll be sure to post the finished video here when it’s completed.


Posted by ny5/pinstripepress at 11:12 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 14 August 2009 12:08 PM EDT
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What's goin' on

Today I finished writing my presentation on research in writing for the Pittsburgh Writer's Project. I will be giving this talk at the Green Tree Library in Pittsburgh on September 12th. This is a real homecoming for me as I was born and raised just down the street (my parents still live there) and the library is the site of my 4-6 grade elementary school. Although my lectures usually deal with history, I gave a similar talk about the craft of writing a few months back to Fredericksburg's Kappa Delta Gamma (Beta Eta Chapter). This piece is similar, but I have broken it down into two parts: 1. a recap of how I researched one of my books (specifically how I wrote "Houses of the Holy") and 2. ten practical tips for conducting research. I’ll be sure to post a copy here upon my return. I also hope to have some photos of the affair.

As I am preparing to take my oldest to college in a couple weeks, I have intentionally thinned my schedule to almost nothing. I do have a book review to pen for the Free Lance-Star, but other than that, I am free. The title is “The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson” and it was written by NPS volunteer Chris Mackowski and ranger Kris White. Of course Jackson’s death is near and dear to my heart and the book looks like a nice study of the subject. I do plan to post some images and updates on the National Civil War Life Foundation’s commercial we shot last week, (as well as some other  announcements) and I still owe you a Naked Historian #10 from Catherine’s Furnace.

That said, if I appear to be slacking, don’t worry. I am.

Posted by ny5/pinstripepress at 3:32 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 6 August 2009 3:38 PM EDT
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