• 70°

Rowan Museum brings hands-on learning through Civil War camp

As the blistering July sun crept higher over the horizon, a group of young soldiers makes the trek back to Granite Quarry’s Old Stone House. The group is red-faced, fatigued — fresh from a skirmish and ready to relax in the building’s shade.

They’ll be rewarded for their effort with a sampling of fatback fried in a cast-iron skillet over an open flame, and excitement over the seemingly meager pickings abounds as caps come off: some blue, some gray, representing both the Union and Confederacy of the Civil War.

Caps abandoned, the soldiers are left in their true forms: They’re sixth- through eighth-grade students, participants in this year’s Civil War camp hosted by Rowan Museum.

“The camp is really a way to give students an idea of what life really was like for soldiers during the Civil War: what they ate, how they dressed, how they fought,” said Rowan Museum executive director Aaron Kepley. “… We’re not glorifying the war, we’re telling it like it really was, helping them see it wasn’t some romantic, ‘Gone with the Wind’ type of existence.”

Volunteer re-enactor Stephen Harris, working with the group of 10 campers during a skirmish at Old Stone House on Wednesday, said the focus was on exploring the experiences of those on both sides of the war.

“Our focus is that all of these men were all American, whether they were from the North or the South,” he said. “This is American history; this is military history.”

It was also the nation’s greatest military conflict, he said, adding 650,000 men died during the war.

“How could you ignore something as massive as that?” said volunteer re-enactor Greg Cheek.

For Kepley and other volunteers during the weeklong camp, the opportunities for learning about facets of American history within the context of the war abounded.

Marian Hough, a history teacher from West Rowan Middle School, guided the group through Civil War-era medical practices, using costume makeup to apply wounds and bandages to help “build the authentic feel of the lessons.”

Learners were surprised to learn of medicine’s progression over the centuries, of how soldiers routinely lost limbs or their lives to wounds and infection.

Other lessons included other aspects of a soldier’s daily living: meals, battle tactics, navigation and more.

“It’s funny when we try to help people relate to that period of time, to relate to the mindset of that period,” said Cheek. “There wasn’t a Food Lion on every corner or cellphone towers.”

And to both Cheek and Harris, nothing helped facilitate these concepts like hands-on learning experiences like Civil War camp, a concept camper Jayaraj Mazzone echoed.

“History has always been one of my better subjects,” he said, “Wars are interesting, just learning the technology they had or didn’t have to use during them. … It’s been fun this week to battle, to do something other than just lay around at home on the couch. That’s just not my style.”

Comments

Coronavirus

New COVID-19 positives in Rowan at lowest point since start of pandemic

Education

Rowan Wild’s animal camp makes a comeback at Dan Nicholas Park

Coronavirus

Health officials say financial incentives helped vaccination rates; lottery drawing today

Granite Quarry

Granite Quarry adopts budget that keeps tax rate flat

Business

Airport Advisory committee endorses plans for expansion at Mid-Carolina Regional

China Grove

China Grove will celebrate 40th Farmers Day with week full of festivities

Sports

Pistons win in NBA draft lottery; Hornets will get 11th pick

Crime

Officers in Locust arrest drivers who tried to flee; one was on motorcycle reported stolen from Rowan

News

Panel OKs NC Senate budget bill; Dems pan policy provisions

News

Letter: Journalist won’t join UNC faculty without tenure

Crime

Chase from Mooresville ends with crash at Rowan Mill Road; two charged

Kannapolis

Dearmons gift two public art sculptures to city of Kannapolis

Crime

Blotter: Woman’s camper stolen from side of I-85

Local

Local scouts sweep NC American Legion awards

Business

As demand lessens slightly, local homebuilders work through challenges to deliver dwellings

Local

Commissioners name Newberry Hall House county’s newest historic landmark

News

Senate budget uses NC revenue boon on more tax cuts, capital

College

Livingstone College alumna Quanera Hayes makes U.S. Olympic Team after first-place finish in 400-meter race

Crime

Blotter: June 21

Ask Us

Ask Us: What is status of ‘speed table’ on Charles Street in Spencer?

Local

East Rowan High graduate killed in motorcycle crash

Local

Political Notebook: Gov. Cooper vetoes Ford-backed bill allowing firearms at churches that are also schools

Crime

Blotter: June 20

News

Body of fourth tuber, age 7, found in North Carolina river