An Invitation to Field Test New Civil War Learning Lab

Today’s post comes from Megan Nobriga, intern in our Education and Public Programs division.

We’re looking for DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia educators to field test a new one-hour document-based learning lab that focuses on aspects of the Civil War.

Student "Archivist" in Learning Lab
A student “archivist” during the Constitution-in-Action learning lab at the National Archives.

It was designed for high school students and takes place at the Boeing Learning Center at the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC.

In the new learning program, “The Civil War: Commemorate or Celebrate?,” students are presented with the task of making a recommendation to Congress on the creation of a new holiday to remember the Civil War. Students will help decide if this holiday should be celebratory or commemorative in nature.

The lab features primary source documents that focus on different aspects of the Civil War. Students are organized into small groups to analyze different documents based on these aspects:

  • Government,
  • Technology and Tactics,
  • Ideology,
  • Civilians,
  • Soldiers, and
  • African Americans.

Each student will analyze one document and decide whether to celebrate or commemorate the war. The students will discuss and debate their documents and decisions in their groups.

After, a large group discussion and debate will focus on how the different aspects of the Civil War support either a commemoration or a celebration.

Let us know if you’re interested in bringing your students to help field test this program! We are looking for groups that can help provide feedback as we develop this program.

Leave a comment below or contact Amber Kraft ( 202-357-7496) or Megan Nobriga ( to reserve a time and date in February for your students to come and try out our new learning lab program!


The Boeing Learning Center is made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives through the support of The Boeing Company and the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

8 thoughts on “An Invitation to Field Test New Civil War Learning Lab

  1. Hi Stephanie. Wow. I’ll be sure to stay up on this. I’m running a Civil War class right now and it’s amazing how the documents from NARA are useful.

  2. I teach middle school ELA at St. Anthony Catholic School in DC. If you skew younger for your target audience, my 8th grade class is currently studying Civil War literature. Would love to bring a group of them for the learning lab.

    Thank you,

    Teresa Fitzgerald

  3. Does the visit need to occur in February? I’m not sure that I can organize a field trip from Baltimore in one weeks time.

  4. Love to do this! I teach 11th graders American History and are about to enter the Civil War era. Small private school in Montgomery county MD…

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