Teach PA History
Is Seeing Believing?

1. Students may choose to write a letter to a local newspaper or national newsmagazine articulating their views on the use of battlefield reporters and graphic photographs of current warfare, using their knowledge of the power of photography to illustrate their point of view. 2. Students may choose a photograph from the Library of Congress Special Civil War collection. Then they can write two different perspectives (Union and Confederate) about the same picture. 3. For those students with cameras, you may wish to take a photograph to elicit a certain emotional response. Then reposition the subject or alter the perspective to evoke a different viewer response. Write a page describing what you have purposely altered, why you have done so, and what emotional response you were aiming to viewer to experience. (i.e., crumpled clothing vs. ironed, folded clothing or a thimble as seen from someone standing above it vs. a zoom of the dimples in a thimble).

Field Trips

Gibson's Photographic Gallery 65 Steinwehr Avenue Gettysburg, PA 17325 (717) 331-9393
This gallery, located in downtown Gettysburg, would be the perfect field trip experience associated with this lesson. According to its website information, it is the only working photographic studio using 1860s laboratory and development techniques. Not only can students see samples of Civil War photography, but they can also learn their process of development. The gallery requires advance notice for tours.

National Civil War Museum One Lincoln Circle at Reservoir Park P.O. Box 1861 Harrisburg, PA 17105-1861 (717) 260-1861
To place this lesson in the larger context of the Civil War, you may wish to visit this museum. It portrays the entire Civil War experience in a humanistic, unbiased perspective. Among the museum displays you will find a plaque of firsts, which lists "photographing battlefield casualties" as one of the "firsts" of the Civil War. The educational staff provides a helpful information and an exhibit guide lists the standards and how main themes of the museum fit into these standards; however, the specific museum experience is left for the teacher to create.

Gettysburg National Military Park 97 Taneytown Road Gettysburg, PA 17325-2804 Museum Educator (717) 334-1124 extension 420
Many of the photographs students studied in this lesson were taken in or around Gettysburg. To further explore the Battle of Gettysburg and the Civil War, consider visiting Gettysburg National Military Park. It has developed a number of educational programs and opportunities. During certain time frames during the year, the park offers special programs for school groups listed at Teacher Resources: Student Education Programs. [[/]] If your class is unable to go on a field trip, you can also consider the park offerings of Distance Learning Programs and their Travel Trunk Program.

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