MEDINA – Genesee Community College will host its 4th annual Civil War Encampment and Living History Weekend next month, April 24-26, at its Medina Campus Center. Event coordinators Jim Simon, Associate Dean of Orleans County Campuses, and Assistant Professor of History Derek Maxfield, are deep into preparations for this special event. “Each year we have tried to add new elements to keep the event fresh.” Maxfield commented, “I am especially looking forward to this years event because it will be our last encampment and we have created a special downtown program that will feature a simulated surrender ceremony and a special dedication in front of the Bent’s Opera Hall.”
The weekend will include an Education Day on Friday for local school districts, educational activities throughout the weekend including a nationally recognized Frederick Douglass impressionist, reenactments of skirmishes, artillery and cavalry, a surrender ceremony at noon in downtown Medina on Saturday, and a panel discussion featuring distinguished guests from the popular online journal The Emerging Civil War.
The Emerging Civil War (ECW) was founded by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher White with a goal of providing fresh perspectives and original scholarship related to the American Civil War (1861-1865). GCC Assistant History Professor Derek Maxfield is a contributor to ECW and will moderate a panel discussion at the Encampment featuring Dr. Mackowski, a professor of journalism and mass communication at St. Bonaventure University, and historian Kris White, who teaches at the Community College of Allegheny County near Pittsburgh and previously served as staff military historian at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park in Virginia where he continues to volunteer.
The discussion, “So What Have We Learned? The Sesquicentennial, The Civil War and American Memory” is set for 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 25, 2015 in the main tent at the Encampment. “The Civil War’s sesquicentennial has been a great opportunity to introduce people to America’s ‘great story,’” said Dr. Mackowski. “Even though the anniversary is wrapping up now, it’s the perfect time for people to ask ‘What did the Civil War mean? Why is it still relevant today, to me?’” “We love getting out on the front lines and talking with people about the war because it’s the best way to help nurture the public’s interest and help people understand it better,” said White.
“I am so pleased that historians from the Emerging Civil War will be joining us for our last Civil War Encampment,” said Prof. Maxfield. “I have been very impressed by the caliber of work on ECW and was honored to be invited to join their ranks. To borrow a phrase, I think having a panel of ECW experts part of the Encampment schedule kicks things up a notch.”