ECW Honors the American Battlefield Trust for Service in Civil War Public History

Garry Adelman, director of education for the American Battlefield Trust (right), accepts the ECW Award for Service in Civil War Public History from ECW Editor-in-Chief Chris Mackowski. (Photo by Hank Ballone)

Emerging Civil War (ECW) is pleased to honor the American Battlefield Trust as the recipient of this year’s Emerging Civil War Award for Service in Civil War Public History.

Emerging Civil War’s Award for Service in Civil War Public History recognizes the work of an individual or organization that has made a significant impact on the field of public history in a way that better helps the general public connect with America’s defining event. “We have a strong public history mission at ECW, and we want to recognize—and offer our gratitude to—the work of others who share that same mission,” explained ECW Editor-in-Chief Chris Mackowski.

The American Battlefield Trust is the largest nonprofit organization devoted to the preservation of America’s hallowed battlegrounds. Over its thirty-five-year history, the Trust has permanently protected more than 55,000 acres of hallowed ground at 150 separate sites across three wars, and it is on the verge of completing work in its 25th state. Although primarily focused on the protection of Civil War battlefields, the Trust works to save the battlefields connected to the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, as well. Through educational programs and heritage tourism initiatives, the Trust also informs the public about the vital role battlefields played in determining the course of our nation’s history.

“As historians, so many of us at ECW would swear by the adage, ‘If you want to truly understand a battle, you have to walk the ground.’ Histories are literally grounded in the landscapes where the events unfolded. That’s why the work of the Trust to preserve those landscapes has been of such vital importance,” Mackowski said. “Battlefields are unique historical artifacts and invaluable primary sources, and the Trust has been tireless in its efforts to preserve them. In doing so, it has done an incredible job of relaying—over and over and over—the vital importance of our history and why we need to understand and appreciate it. In thirty-five years, the Trust has connected more people with Civil War history than almost any other entity.”

Every fund-raising appeal has been accompanied by extensive materials educating people about the importance of the ground—and the history—the Trust is trying to preserve. Their maps, in particular, have become especially popular—so much so that they’ve spawned a series of map books authored by Kris White and featuring the maps of Steve Stanley.

Their award-winning magazine, Hallowed Ground, highlights not only the robust news of the preservation community but also highlights history in innovative ways, including well-loved battle studies but also highlighting such things as the histories of America’s service academies, the stories of Medal of Honor winners, and the role of veterans in American history.

Trust President David N. Duncan, in accepting the award, said, “We are deeply honored by this recognition from our friends at Emerging Civil War. Its members are among the leading historians and guides, those who know the battlefields we seek to protect best, making their appreciation of our work particularly meaningful. The Trust has been a supporter of the ECW vision since its inception, and it has been an honor and privilege to grow and thrive alongside them. In giving thanks for this honor, I will reiterate our commitment to the preservation of America’s hallowed ground and the equally hard work of interpretation and education, ensuring that future generations will understand and appreciate the events that took place there.”

ECW has partnered with the Trust on a myriad of projects over the past decade, from video projects to conference presentations to articles for Hallowed Ground. ECW historians have also offered a number of battlefield tours for Trust events. “We’re so privileged to be able to work with the Trust in so many ways because it gives our historians the chance to materially support the battlefield preservation work they’re so passionate about,” Mackowski said.

Previous recipients of the Emerging Civil War Award for Service in Civil War Public History include Ted Alexander, former historian at Antietam National Battlefield; Dave Roth, publisher of Blue & Gray magazine; D. P. Newton, founder of the White Oak Civil War Museum; John Coski, historian at the American Civil War Museum; David Ruth, former superintendent of Richmond National Battlefield Park; and Civil War historian and author Gary W. Gallagher.

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Emerging Civil War is the collaborative effort of more than two-dozen historians committed to sharing the story of the Civil War in an accessible way. Founded in 2011 by Kris White and Chris Mackowski, Emerging Civil War features public and academic historians of diverse backgrounds and interests, while also providing a platform for emerging voices in the field. Initiatives include the award-winning Emerging Civil War Series of books published by Savas Beatie, LLC; the “Engaging the Civil War” Series published by Southern Illinois University Press; an annual symposium; a speakers bureau; and a daily blog: www.emergingcivilwar.com.

Emerging Civil War is recognized by the I.R.S. as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation.

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