Kentucky Heritage Council
Role of African Americans in the Civil War to be highlighted during ‘Battlefields & Beyond: Civil War Sites in the 21st Century’ conference Aug. 15-17 in Danville

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, July 16, 2013  
Revision Date:  Monday, July 29, 2013 
Contact Information:  Diane Comer
(502) 564-7005 Ext. 120

Frankfort, Ky. – Best practices for preservation and interpretation of Civil War battlefields, historic sites and museums will be the focus of a major conference Aug. 15-17, in Danville, geared as an educational forum for administrators, staff, docents, board members and volunteers at these sites. “Battlefields & Beyond: Civil War Sites in the 21st Century” is the first Civil War sites preservation conference in the nation 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.Battlefields & Beyond graphic

A highlight of Battlefields & Beyond will be participation by James DeWolf Perry, executive director of The Tracing Center on Histories and Legacies of Slavery, based in Watertown, Mass. Founded in 2009, the mission of the Tracing Center is to create greater awareness of the history of enslaved African Americans and the transatlantic slave trade, and to inspire acknowledgement, dialogue and active response to this history and its many legacies. For more, see

Perry will kick-off the opening day at 9:30 a.m. Thursday (Aug. 15) with a workshop exploring the role of African Americans in the Civil War and examining opportunities for giving voice to those whose contributions and stories have been underrepresented. He will also co-present a case study at 2 p.m. Aug. 16 in partnership with Linda Lipscomb of the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Va.

Also opening day, Brian Mabelitini, a historic archaeologist with Gray & Pape Inc., will lead “Archaeology 101” and discuss ways to use archaeology as a tool for interpretation and tourism. Maria Campbell Brent, a certified interpretive planner, will conduct a workshop on developing interpretation that engages visitors and helps sites achieve their mission. The day will conclude with a guided tour of Civil War-era Danville and opening reception at the McDowell House Museum.

Aug. 16 will feature presentations that explore opportunities and challenges associated with the perpetual preservation of Civil War sites. Presenters drawn from both the public and private sector will include Fred Prouty, director of the Tennessee Wars Commission, who will lead off with his unique perspective on Civil War interpretation and preservation.
The Friday agenda also includes roundtable presentations on African Americans and the Civil War, and Civil War battlefield preservation; case studies; and a plenary keynote session with Bill Neikirk of Mill Springs Battlefield Association, and Tanya Gossett of the National Park Service, who will deliver a “State of the Battlefields” report. Other speakers will represent the American Battlefield Protection Program, Civil War Trust, National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, Tennessee Battlefield Preservation Association, Arkansas state historic preservation office, Berea College and Civil War Helena (Ark.). The day will conclude with a guided tour, barbecue and bluegrass music at Perryville Battlefield – included in registration.

Aug. 17 will feature a case study on successes and lessons learned at Camp Nelson Heritage Park, a U.S. Army quartermaster depot and training center, presented by Dr. Stephen McBride, followed by a guided tour of the site and concluding with individual tours of other participating sites and museums.

“This gathering is intended to commemorate the Civil War Sesquicentennial, but offers so much more,” said Rachel Kennedy, Preservation Kentucky executive director. “If you are interested in learning more about interpreting slavery and the road to freedom at your site, this conference will benefit you. If you are wondering how archaeology can inform interpretation and restoration efforts, we have a great workshop for your needs. Or if you just want to have barbecue with your colleagues at historic Perryville Battlefield, while networking with professionals from across the country, then come join us.”

Conference registration is $125 per person prior to the Aug. 2 early bird deadline, or $175 after. For more information or to register, visit For questions, contact Kennedy at 502-871-4570 or

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An agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office is responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of archaeological resources and historic buildings, sites and cultural resources throughout the Commonwealth, in partnership with other state and federal agencies, local communities and interested citizens. This mission is integral to making communities more livable and has a far-ranging impact on issues as diverse as economic development, jobs creation, affordable housing, tourism, community revitalization, environmental conservation and quality of life.

Preservation Kentucky is a membership-based nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Kentucky's historic and prehistoric places through education and advocacy. Learn more at