I’m in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, this weekend—at the National Civil War Museum—to attend the national Civil War Roundtable Congress. The Congress kindly invited me to offer their keynote address last night, and today, I’m sitting in on their workshops. More than 60 attendees have come from 17 different roundtables around the country. (And I’ve seen a lot of familiar faces: ECW readers and Symposium attendees from a dozen places—very fun!)
This museum, a Smithsonian-affiliated facility, is a real gem—one of the premier collections of Civil War artifacts anywhere in the country. The museum’s CEO, Wayne Motts, one of the most energetic guys in the Civil War business, has been a gracious host. Wayne is really good people.
Matt Borowick, who writes a monthly column on roundtables for Civil War News, is serving as the day’s master of ceremonies. “We want to offer a program that’s meaningful and helpful to you,” he said. “We’re here to learn. We’re here to share best practices.”
Borowick called this “a very important time in Civil War Roundtable History.” At a time when memberships sometimes feel under stress, the Congress seeks to share ways to make Roundtables more successful. “We see Roundtables of various shapes and sizes, various successes and failures,” Borowick said.
The day’s line-up includes some great speakers:
Jay Jorgensen of the R.E. Lee CWRT of Central New Jersey: “Organizing CWRTs for Success,” with a focus on organization, governance, and activities
Wally Rueckel of the Brunswick (NC) CWRT: “The Brunswick CWRT Experience,” with a focus on enhanced fund-raising, circuit speakers, and volunteer recruitment
Dr. John Bamberl of the Scottsdale (AZ) CWRT: “The Scottsdale CWRT Experience,” with a focus on no-cost marketing
Mike Movius of the Puget Sound CWRT: “Social Media,” with a focus on marketing through Facebook and meet-up
The day will wrap up with a panel discussion with the speakers, then time in the museum, networking, and a book signing with a line-up of twelve authors. The day will wrap up with dinner, and to cap off the weekend tomorrow, museum director Wayne Motts will lead a half-day tour at Gettysburg.
Organizers are already looking ahead to 2019. “We want to get the word out,” Wally Rueckel told me. (Wally wrote about last year’s Congress for ECW.) “We want to share this experience and expertise.” Any roundtable is welcome to attend. Registration information will be available through the Puget Sound Roundtable’s website: pscwrt.org/events (look for the tab on the drop-down menu).
I’ll have more as the day progresses. Stay tuned!