A Tweet in Time–Teaching History in New Media

twitter-civil-war-backgroundApril 12, 2011 will mark 150 years from the day that Confederate artillery opened fire on a Federal fort in Charleston Harbor. Fort Sumter surrendered and so began the bloodiest conflict American soil has ever seen.

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. – George Santayana

The American Civil War – 150 years later.

As historical societies and battle field parks prepare to commemorate the Civil War sesquicentennial we are also seeing new ways of inviting people to learn and interact with history.

Two flagship media outlets, the New York Times and the Washington Post, are both using interactive media to breathe life into the historical events.

The New York Times is writing the “DISUNION” blog,

DISUNION : One-hundred-and-fifty years ago, Americans went to war with themselves. Disunion revisits and reconsiders America’s most perilous period — using contemporary accounts, diaries, images and historical assessments to follow the Civil War as it unfolded.

house-divided_624x110 The Washington Post has created “A House Divided” blog,

“A House Divided” is a blog dedicated to news and issues of importance to Civil War enthusiasts across the country and around the world. Blogger Linda Wheeler and a panel of respected Civil War experts will debate and dissect historical issues and explore new concepts

The Washington Post is also Tweeting the Civil War. They have created historical Twitter accounts and are using them to tell the story in real-time  (150 years later).

I love this initiative and I think its an excellent way to invite a people to hear history and perhaps a conversation. (Wouldn’t you love it they did a period Twitter interview with @AbeLincolnWP

In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, & not in mine, is the momentous issue of Civil War.Fri Mar 04 13:15:12 via HootSuite

The WaPo is also using a favorite tool of mine, @Storify, to create weekly wrap-ups of the tweetstream. Real-time media curation for a historical event – This makes the social geek and the history geek in me quite happy.

Let the History Lesson Begin

Also PBS is airing Ken Burn’s landmark documentary “The Civil War” this week. Check your local listings.

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