A Conversation with John Coski (part four)

Part four of six

John Coski is the 2019 recipient of the Emerging Civil War Award for Service in Public History. John worked as a historian at the Museum of the Confederacy before its recent evolution into the American Civil War Museum—where he still works—and has seen that transformation as a real opportunity to engage the public about a period he calls “the most important in American history.”

John Coski: The American Civil War Museum—we had changed the name, and we were evolving under our current leadership in a way that made it very clear that we wanted to engage, even more than the Museum of the Confederacy did, with the relevance of the war and the Civil War era. We wanted to participate in the public discussion today. It put us in a position to be a go-to source for journalists in particular. And [Executive Director] Christy Coleman is spending her life on the road, talking to everybody. I mean, she is just everywhere with the message of how the war is complicated, it’s more ambiguous and complicated than you might think, as well as acknowledging the centrality of slavery, which the MOC tried to do more gently, but still same idea. And she’s a wonderful spokesperson for that; she’s the face of the museum now. The message is more or less the same as it’s been, which is the complexity, the ambiguity of the experience, and trying to be an objective, trustworthy source. Continue reading

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A Conversation with John Coski (part three)

Part three of six

I’m talking this week with John Coski, recipient of ECW’s 2019 Emerging Civil War Award for Service in Public History. John works as a historian with the American Civil War Museum in Richmond and, prior to its recent merger with the American Civil War Center, at the Museum of the Confederacy.

“There’s a big difference between the Museum of the Confederacy and the Museum for the Confederacy,” John said in yesterday’s segment. “It’s our subject of study; it is not a religion.”

Chris Mackowski: What particular challenges are there to curating a collection of Confederate artifacts? Continue reading

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Additional Podcast Resources: “McClellan’s Last Days in Command”

Did you catch the newest episode of the Emerging Civil War Podcast last week? Since Kevin Pawlak and Chris Mackowski talked about McClellan’s last weeks in command, we thought it would be a great time to pull some “McClellan focused posts” from the ECW archive for the additional resources.

Enjoy! Continue reading

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A Conversation with John Coski (part two)

John Coski (left) and Chris Mackowski

Part two of six

I’m talking this week with John Coski, historian with the American Civil War Museum in Richmond and recipient of ECW’s 2019 Emerging Civil War Award for Service in Public History.

In recounting his “origin story” yesterday, John talked about getting into grad school and getting away from the Civil War. He found his way back when the graduate director took on a major project for Charles City County that enabled him to arrange for some publication opportunities for his grad students, including John.

John Coski: I did the Civil War essay and the Reconstruction essay and ended up ghost writing a bunch of others for people—did a lot of work over the next eight years, six, seven years, anyway—and it was published in 1989. I ended up being co-editor.

Through that, I met the owner of Berkeley Plantation, part of Charles City history, and we came up with the idea of doing a little book about the Harrison’s Landing occupation, Berkeley in the war. Basically I provided the copy, and he provided the publication, and we split the proceeds. And that went through any number of printings. I think it’s still being printed. So, a little entrepreneurship, early version, regarding Civil War. Continue reading

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A Conversation with John Coski (part one)

John Coski (left) with Will Greene at the Sixth Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge

Part one of six

In August, ECW present its 2019 Emerging Civil War Award for Service in Civil War Public History to John Coski, historian with the American Civil War Museum in Richmond (and, prior to its merger, with the Museum of the Confederacy). John has overseen the museum’s research library, assisted with exhibits, and written several books, most notably a book on the Confederate battle flag. You can ECW’s announcement about the award, and biographical info about John, here.

This week, we’re pleased to present a conversation with John, recorded earlier this fall. This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Chris Mackowski: What’s the origin story of John Coski? How did you get interested in the Civil War? Continue reading

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Question of the Week: 11/11-11/17/19

Some Civil War veterans were still alive when World War I ended in 1918 on Armistice Day (November 11). Do you have an ancestor or favorite Civil War veteran to research who lived into the 20th Century? What makes him special to you?

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Veterans Day

Happy Veterans Day!

ECW sends sincere gratitude to the men and women who have served in the United States armed forces. Thank you for defending the legacy of freedom and helping to make that precious gift of liberty a reality at home and for others around the world.

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Week In Review: November 3-10, 2019

It’s been a week of news for the Civil War community with a retirement of a long-time preservation leader and the memorial remembrances for a well-known historian. ECW has covered both events, and you’ll also find a nice variety of history articles, including a book review, several primary source highlights, photographic research, and more.

Continue reading

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Bud Robertson: In Memoriam (part two)

Bud autograph 01On Thursday, Brian Matthew Jordan offered a few thoughts on the legacy of legendary historian  James I. “Bud” Robertson, Jr., who died last weekend at the age of 89. Today, we hear from three more of our ECW historians—Bert Dunkerly, Chris Kolakowski, and Chris Mackowski—as they share their recollections. Continue reading

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Saving History Saturday: This Veterans Day, Preserve Their Legacies

Two Union veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic with a Boy Scout at a parade in 1910. (Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

This Veterans Day in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the National Park Partners and Chattanooga Area Historical Association are hosting a lecture series on the 1889 “Blue and Gray Barbecue” that helped spark the preservation of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. This gathering of veterans in 1889 spearheaded an entire movement to preserve their legacies, stories, and sacrifices for generations to come. While not every one of us can partake in an event in Chattanooga, we can honor veterans in a similar way. Continue reading

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