Civil war buffs, and those fascinated by American history in general, can make plans now to attend the 2012 Gettysburg Seminar, which will explore some of the long burning issues of the battle at Gettysburg.
Among the topics to be discussed: What truly happened at Gettysburg? And what did the great battle mean?
Soldiers who fought there and the civilians and politicians who learned of it through the newspapers and letters home wrestled with these questions in the days and weeks following the battle. Those same questions will be wrestled with by presenters at the seminar.
The generation that fought the war, and each successive generation since has re-assessed and re-interpreted the events of July and November 1863, trying to understand its significance. Gettysburg is not a place frozen in time. Through the decades it has became more than the site of a terrible battle and famous speech but occupies a powerful symbolic position in the nation's narrative. History and memory both intertwine and collide here.
Next spring's seminar will venture into this rich and fascinating story spanning over 140 years, to poke through the mists of time, history and memory, to ponder, and to learn.
The 2012 Gettysburg Seminar features National Park Service historians, rangers, licensed battlefield guides and additional guests who will present a series of lectures at the Historic Gettysburg Hotel, the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center, as well as field walks and bus tours.
The Gettysburg Seminar will begin on Friday evening with a first-ever panel discussion to be held in the Kinsley Theater of the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. Due to limited seating, only the first 180 registrants will be able to attend this event and seminar participants will be encouraged to submit ideas for discussion with their returned Seminar Registration.
Beginning Saturday monring, the formal lectures will take place in the ballroom of the historic Gettysburg Hotel on Lincoln Square in downtown Gettysburg. Lectures will be followed with a variety of battlefield walks and bus tours to important sites relative to the history and memory of the battle and campaign. And this year, there will be the added option of attending two indoor classroom lectures instead of attending the outdoor field programs.
Saturday evening will include a buffet style meal followed by a performance from musician and historian David Kincaid, who presents a compelling program of the songs and history of the Irish in the American Civil War. Having performed at a variety of Irish/Celtic festivals, historical sites and folk music venues across the US and in Europe, Kincaid's music has also been used in several documentary films and the popular commercial release, Gods and Generals.
Years of research, recording and performing experience have been translated into two critically acclaimed albums, "The Irish Volunteer" and "The Irish American's Song," collections of authentic Irish songs of both the Union and the Confederacy. Also available, "David Kincaid and The Brandos - Songs of the Irish Volunteers, Live in Europe."
The seminar will continue on Sunday morning with additional battlefield walks, bus tours and the indoor classroom lectures, which will conclude by noon.
Registration for the Gettysburg Seminar is $90 per person and the seminar is limited to 240 participants. For a complete schedule of lectures, field programs, and presenters and to register, visit the park's website at: www.nps.gov/gett/historyculture/2012-seminar.htm