Shepherd Civil War center offers series of free online programs

Shepherd Civil War center offers series of free online programs
The George Tyler Moore Center for Civil War History occupies one of many historic structures in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

The Civil War center at is hosting a series of free programs online beginning April 17 to help inform, educate, and entertain during the COVID-19 outbreak.


Dr. James Broomall, director of the university’s George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, said the eight-program evening series has been a pleasure to coordinate, given the challenge of isolation.

“The goal is to bring people together and facilitate fun and interesting discussions and pique public curiosity about the past,” Broomall said.

“Beyond Civil War-era topics, programming includes a variety of subjects including practicing history during a pandemic, historic cocktails, and the 1918 influenza epidemic.”


The center is hosting the series through Facebook live, and installments will afterward be uploaded to the center’s YouTube channel.

Some programs will feature faculty and staff, Broomall said, and for others, the center is partnering with organizations such as Civil War Trails, “Civil War Times,” Mosby Heritage Area, The Tattooed Historian, and National Museum of Civil War Medicine.

Additionally, Broomall is participating in a series of programs titled “Zoom Goes the History,” which is being sponsored by the American Battlefield Trust.

“Despite this period of uncertainty, and even crisis, academic and public historians have come together to deliver programs and educate audiences,” he said. “I remain inspired by my colleagues’ efforts and have found my evenings filled by amazing programs.”


Facebook live programs will be broadcast at the following dates and times.

Friday, April 17, at 7 p.m.

“Practicing History in a Pandemic,” a live stream featuring panelists Broomall; Jake Wynn, director of interpretation, National Museum of Civil War Medicine; Tonya Staggs, director of education for Historic Castalian Springs; AnneMarie Paquette, director of education, Mosby Heritage Area; Drew Gruber, executive director, Civil War Trails; Steve Phan, historian and park ranger for Civil War Defenses of Washington in the National Park Service; Heidi Campbell-Shoaf, director and chief curator, Daughters of the American Revolution Museum; and John Heckman, historian and owner of The Tattooed Historian.

Monday, April 20, at 7 p.m.


“A New Spin on the Minié Ball,” featuring public historian and Civil War expert and author Dana Shoaf leading a discussion with Broomall about the technology behind and changing role of the minié ball and small arms fire on the battlefield that will include exhibiting a series of artifacts.

Wednesday, April 22, at 7 p.m.

“Many a Vacant Chair: Influenza in Jefferson County,” focusing on the past to guide us through the present, the George Tyler Moore Center for the Civil War’s Catherine Mägi Oliver will chat about how local professors, students, farmers, shopkeepers, doctors, journalists, and other community members—people who walked the same streets we walk today—grappled with the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918-1919.

Wednesday, April 29, at 7 p.m.


“Orgy of Lawlessness: Prohibition Stories,” a talk by Oliver focusing on Prohibition-era tales that she and historian Dennis Frye have been investigating.

Friday, May 1, at 7 p.m.

“Virtual Vintage Happy Hour: Juleps, Fairies, and 19th Century Buzz,” with Oliver offering a blend of mixology and history while discussing the legends behind some popular 19th-century cocktails, and perhaps showing how to make one.

Tuesday, May 5, at 7 p.m.


“World War I Film Discussion,” a livestream event with historian James Staub looking at how the Great War has been portrayed in films such as Peter Jackson’s “They Shall Not Grow Old” and the recent award-winning “1917.”

Wednesday, May 6, at 7 p.m.

“Walden Pond Paradox: How Could Authors of Peace Support John Brown?” a discussion led by Oliver about how it is possible that the Transcendentalist creators of “Walden,” “Nature,” and “Little Women” committed so fervently to the militant John Brown.

Friday, May 15, at 7 p.m.

"Virtual Vintage Happy Hour: Tropical Time-Travel,” in which Oliver invites everyone to travel (virtually, of course) back in time to the tiki-obsessed days of the mid-20th century. She’ll explain some of the stories behind popular drinks as well as their controversies, and perhaps show how to make one.

For more information, contact or visit the center’s .

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