Program teaches educators about War of 1812 in Ohio

Jul. 23, 2012


PUT-IN-BAY — This week, teachers and professors will visit historic sites relating to the War of 1812 as part of a program through the Ohio Historical Society.

“The War of 1812 in the Great Lakes and Western Territories,” a weeklong program, starts this week, and will be offered again the week of Aug. 5. It allows teachers in grades K-12 and community college faculty to see some area historic sites — including Fort Meigs in Perrysburg and Perry’s Victory International Peace Monument on Put-in-Bay — pertaining to what has been called the United States’ second revolutionary war.

Stacia Kuceyeski, director of educational programs and outreach for the Ohio Historical Society, said one of the misconceptions people have about the war is that it was fought on the East Coast, and in New Orleans.

“What happened in Ohio?” she asked. “A lot. National history has played out in our home state.”

Kuceyeski said people might have some knowledge of the Battle of Lake Erie, but the idea of the war being fought in what is now northwest Ohio and southwest Michigan is something a lot of people don’t know about.

Kuceyeski said educators from throughout the Midwest, as well as California and Alaska, will participate in the workshops.

“I was really pleased with the geographical reach we had with this program,” she said.

The K-12 program is funded through a $180,000 grant, and the college program is funded through a $146,000 grant, both through the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The participating educators will have workshops, including lectures from area historians, in addition to visiting historic sites.

Dan Woodward, program manager for Fort Meigs, said when educators visit Fort Meigs, they will be exposed to, among other things, an immersion program called “The Call to Arms,” typically presented for students including marching, carrying a musket, doing laundry and participating in a court-martial.

He said the site is getting more attention with the bicentennial of the war’s start this year. Next year will be a big year for War of 1812 commemorations in northwest Ohio, with the bicentennial of sieges at Fort Meigs and Fort Stephenson — in what is now Fremont — and the Battle of Lake Erie.

Woodward also said the new attention on the war results in part from changing educational standards, which make the war a bigger part of the curriculum. Woodward said the War of 1812 was an important conflict in American history, setting the young nation on its way to being a superpower.

“It’s very easy to be overshadowed by the American Revolution before it and the Civil War after it,” Woodward said.

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