FRANKFORT – Friday, Aug. 2, marks the early bird registration deadline for a major conference on preservation and interpretation of Civil War sites, planned Aug. 15-17 in Danville. Presenters at “Battlefields & Beyond: Civil War Sites in the 21st Century” include representatives from virtually every Civil War-related federal agency and national nonprofit, and venues will showcase Kentucky sites with national significance – including Perryville Battlefield, recently named in USA Today’s “10 great places to visit Civil War sites.”
Battlefields & BeyondThe conference will explore best practices for preservation and interpretation of Civil War battlefields, historic sites and museums. Organized as an educational forum for administrators, staff, docents, board members and volunteers, educational sessions will focus on topics such as the role, participation and legacy of African Americans during the war and after. Because of this, sessions should appeal to anyone involved with a house museum or historic site interested in interpreting historic events from a 21st-century perspective, how activities such as archaeology can help inform research, or new techniques in building preservation.
From 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, participants will tour Civil War-era Danville and learn of the community’s pivotal role during the conflict. Joni House of Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site will lead the tour, which is free and open to the public. Many structures date to that time including conference venues, Trinity Episcopal Church, the oldest church in Danville; St. James African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church; and Boyle County Courthouse, dating to 1862. An opening reception (for registrants only) will take place following the tour at McDowell House Museum, where in 1809 Dr. Ephraim McDowell performed the first successful abdominal surgery.
Conference registration includes a guided tour of Perryville Battlefield and a Barbecue, Bluegrass & Brew dinner Friday, Aug. 16, at H.P. Bottom House at the state historic site, a 745-acre park with a museum and walking trails highlighting one of the most unaltered Civil War landscapes in the nation. Kentucky’s bloodiest battle took place here in October 1862, with more than 7,600 Union and Confederate soldiers killed, wounded or missing.
Registration also includes a guided tour of Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park in Jessamine County on Saturday morning, Aug. 17. One of the best-preserved Union Army supply depot and recruitment sites in the nation, the park features a restored officers’ quarters, fortifications, and Camp Nelson National Cemetery, resting place of 1,600 Camp Nelson soldiers, including some 600 African Americans.
Conference registration is $125 per person prior to Aug. 2, or $175 after. The cost of attending for one day only is $50 per day prior to Aug. 2; $75 per day after. For more information or to register, visit www.civilwarconference.org.
For questions, contact Rachel Kennedy, Preservation Kentucky executive director, at 502-871-4570, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Battlefields & Beyond” is the first national Civil War sites preservation conference since 2001, and the first of its type in Kentucky since 1993. Preservation Kentucky is sponsoring the event in partnership with the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office, the Kentucky Historical Society, and Mudpuppy & Waterdog Inc.