Beginning March 1st, young visitors to Gettysburg National Military Park can earn a special 150th anniversary Junior Ranger patch by completing activities in the Junior Ranger activity book. This is an opportunity for our young visitors to have fun while they learn about the importance and history of Gettysburg. Children not only see the relics of the conflict, visit this great battlefield and the site of President Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address”, and hear the stories of this national park, but they can apply what they discover to make their visit one they will not soon forget!
To learn more visit: http://www.nps.gov/gett/forkids/beajuniorranger.htm
In addition to the special 150th anniversary Junior Ranger, during the park’s nine-day commemoration from June 29 through July 7, Junior Rangers will earn a keepsake identity card of one of six different Gettysburg soldiers and civilians – designed to look like a Civil War daguerreotype.
What else is planned for Gettysburg battle anniversary in the park?
Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Foundation have created nine days of special programming from June 29 through July 7 for the 150th battle anniversary. All programs are free to the public unless otherwise specified. Highlights include:
June 29, 30, Sacred Trust Talks and Book Signings – This year, the park is a co-sponsor to a bigger and better Sacred Trust event. Join renowned historians, authors, National Park Service Rangers and others for talks and book signings that will focus on 1863 topics, in a casual take on a formal lecture series. The diverse range of speakers includes James McPherson, Allen Guelzo, Harold Holzer, Brooks Simpson, Ethan Rafuse, Scott Mingus Jr., and Peter Carmichael, to name a few. Topics encourage the general public, as well as students of the Civil War, to delve deeper into the nature of the conflict that divided our nation. Events take place from 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center.
June 30 “Gettysburg: A New Birth of Freedom” Commemorative Ceremony on stage near Meade’s Headquarters – This signature Civil War sesquicentennial event includes music, a keynote address by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, and “Voices of History,” a dramatic reading of eyewitness accounts written by soldiers and citizens swept into the events of the battle and its tragic aftermath. Country music artist Trace Adkins will sing the National Anthem accompanied by the United States Military Academy Orchestra. The ceremony will end with a procession to the Soldiers’ National Cemetery to see luminaria marking each of the more than 3,500 graves of soldiers killed in the battle of Gettysburg. Sponsored by Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Foundation. The evening begins with a musical prelude at 7:30 p.m. The ceremony begins at 8 p.m., followed by luminaria in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery from 9:00 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.
July 1 – 4 National Park Service Programs for 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. During the days of the battle anniversary, with July 4 focusing on the battle’s aftermath and consequences, is offering a wide range of free programming at dozens of different locations and appealing to all levels of interest, including:
Key Moments – 30 minute programs that provide a brief overview of the events that occurred in a specific location on that day of the battle. Minimal walking. Presented hourly from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. each day.
Overview Hikes – Gettysburg National Military Park Rangers guide these 60-90 minute programs that provide a fuller overview of a phase, or phases, of the battle. The hikes involve more walking and are more in-depth than the Key Moment programs.
Battlefield Experience Programs – These are special programs that offer a unique opportunity to be at a specific place on the battlefield at a moment when some important event or decision was made, or to simply have a unique, one-time experience during the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg.
Voices of Battle Programs – July 1-4 at the stage north of Meade’s Headquarters. These 45 minute programs feature living historians who will bring to life the eyewitness accounts of the soldiers and civilians who experienced the tragedy of the Battle of Gettysburg. 7:30 p.m. each evening.
Living History Camps & Demonstrations – Nearly 500 Union and Confederate infantry and artillery troops and other supporting units will present demonstrations and programs near the Pennsylvania Memorial and at Pitzer’s Woods throughout the day to illustrate the life of the Union and Confederate soldier and demonstrate the tactics used by both armies in the Battle of Gettysburg. The camps will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Please note: living history events are July 1-3 only and there will be no demonstrations on July 3 after 12 p.m.
Family Activity Tent
From July 1 – 4, the front lawn of the Museum and Visitor Center will house a special family and children’s tent full of activities, programs and hands-on opportunities. Stations will include a Living History stage where a new Gettysburg “personality” will be revealed each hour; Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery drilling stations; soldier pastimes circle, dress-up photo booth, and an “Ask a Ranger” desk. Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Museum and Visitor Center Ranger Programs – Rangers will present regular programs on the battle, the life of the Civil War soldier and care of the wounded at regular times throughout the day at the Museum and Visitor Center, July 1 – 4.
July 5, 6, 7 Sacred Trust Talks and Book Signings – Three additional days of noteworthy historians, authors, National Park Service Rangers and others providing talks that examine the nature of the Civil War 150th years ago. The speakers on July 5 through 7 include: Ed Bearss, Scott Hartwig, Ta-Nehisi Coates, James Swanson, Ron Maxwell, Wayne Motts and more. Events take place from 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center.
These special park interpretive programs have been designed to accommodate larger groups of visitors, with a wide variety of programs and multiple opportunities in different places on the battlefield. So if it’s really busy and you don’t want to get back into your car and you’re near the Museum and Visitor Center, you can enjoy the special activities like Sacred Trust events, the family activity tent, and ranger programs in and around the Museum and Visitor Center. You can take a free shuttle to the Civil War living history camp at the Pennsylvania Memorial. You can walk to the Signal Corps demonstrations and the Voices of Battle programs near Meade’s Headquarters. Click here for more details on these programs.
For programs on the battlefield on July 1 through 4, free special shuttle buses will be in service in the park and visitors are encouraged to take these since roadside parking is limited.
What can you do to prepare? Details for all of these programs and more will be in a Commemorative Event Guide to be published by the park and the Foundation in early June. This guide will also be available as a download on the park and the Foundation’s websites.
In the meantime you can get important updates through social media. Follow Gettysburg National Military Park on Facebook and through Twitter to get breaking news and updates about events, parking, shuttles, how the weather might affect certain events, and more. Sign up at www.facebook.com/GettysburgNMP and www.twitter.com/GettysburgNMP.
Katie Lawhon, Management Assistant, February 28, 2013