PASS IT ON | For Teachers | For Students |For Families | It Happened Near Me | Scavenger Hunts

Teaching In and About the Mosby Heritage Area

A visit from the Mosby Heritage Area Association has become an integral part of our 4th grade curriculum. Many of our students have talked about going to some of the sites on your scavenger hunt over summer break with their families.
— Sharon Mosley, 4th Grade Teacher, Countryside Elementary School

Let Us Bring Your Local History into the Classroom

By Richard T. (Rich) Gillespie

Above: Rich Gillespie shares a student's photos from a western Loudoun County Scavenger Hunt. Top: Volunteer Joe Becek with students and their teacher at Aldie Mill.

Above: Rich Gillespie shares a student's photos from a western Loudoun County Scavenger Hunt. Top: Volunteer Joe Becek with students and their teacher at Aldie Mill.

Those of us privileged to teach U.S. or Virginia history in Fauquier, Loudoun, Clarke, Warren, and Prince William counties not only teach in a region with wonderful students and supportive populace, but we also have historical resources second only to those near Williamsburg or Monticello.

But have you introduced your students to them?  They live in one of the fastest-growing regions in America and can see that growth all around them. Yet just over the next hill or a short drive from home is one of the best-preserved historic landscapes in America. It is a landscape that tells stories of the earliest Americans, English colonials, German and Irish immigrants, Quakers and slaves. And from 1861 into 1865, the backroads and stone barns, hayfields and hamlets tell the stories of the Civil War.

Loudoun, Fauquier, Clarke, Warren and western Prince William places provide splendid examples of U.S. and Virginia history playing out locally. These places and stories can help make your classroom studies more relevant to students because the events feature places they pass by all the time. Inevitably, your students will realize the value of saving historical places and landscapes both here and wherever they ultimately live.

Let us bring local history into your classroom!

Call us at (540) 687-5188, email us, or click the button below to fill out our program request form. We'll be back in touch with you promptly.

Rich Gillespie, executive director of the Mosby Heritage Area Association, taught history at Loudoun Valley High School for 30 years. Today he and Kevin Pawlak, education specialist, bring local history alive in the classroom and in the field.

 

Book an Education Program for Your Students Here

2016-2017 Classroom Outreach Program

What programs do we offer to the classroom teacher and how do these programs work? 

Information and forms you'll need:

Upper Elementary School Program Offerings

Lexington, Loudoun, and the Revolution—“The Lexington Alarm: The Coming of the American Revolution to Northern Virginia.” Versions available for 4th or 5th grades. This program uses the historic sites and experiences of the Massachusetts community where the American Revolution began in April 1775 (thus setting off the “Lexington Alarm”) and Northern Virginia’s frontier counties to view the coming of the American Revolution and consider our varying reactions to it. Excellent local photography coupled with stories and role-play allow students to feel the coming of the American Revolution and better understand our local country reacting to “the Lexington Alarm” of ’75. We also examine the nature and demographics of settlement in our region. Scavenger hunts are included with this program examining your county’s history, along with a Revolutionary Era walking tour of a local town (historic Leesburg) to see how the Revolution plays out in our region.

Activities to follow the Revolution program.

Loudoun students visiting the segregated Second Street School for African Americans in Waterford.

Loudoun students visiting the segregated Second Street School for African Americans in Waterford.

A Slavery Odyssey—A Civil War Sesquicentennial Program— For 4th graders. This program examines slavery and freedom as it played out in the Mosby Heritage Area’s Loudoun County from 1840-67, which allows us to examine how slavery operated in northern Virginia, to see cases of the Underground Railroad at work in the region, and to see examples of the impact of the Civil War and emancipation on local African Americans. Using nearby Virginia historic sites to illustrate the ideas and stories of slavery and the Underground Railroad, this program can be followed up by students’ families using the history scavenger students receive. Each county’s scavenger hunt includes key African American sites. This can be adapted for Clarke or Fauquier County schools.

Activities to follow A Slavery Odyssey

Ceremony at Loudoun's Mount Zion Church honoring African American soldier who fought for the Union.

Ceremony at Loudoun's Mount Zion Church honoring African American soldier who fought for the Union.

Loudoun's Civil War Heritage—A Civil War Sesquicentennial Program—Designed for 4th graders taking Virginia Studies, this program introduces students to the story of Loudoun County in the Civil War and to its amazing Civil War landscape. Difficult local decisions about secession due to Loudoun’s east-west divisions, the role of slavery in Loudoun, the first experiences with all-out war, the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, the Union invasion, Loudoun as highway to the great Civil War armies, the coming of emancipation and even slave self-emancipation, the engulfing nature of John Singleton Mosby’s guerilla war that involved Loudoun civilians during 1863-65, and the devastation brought to Loudoun in 1864 by the Great Burning Raid are all brought to life with stories from local historic sites, color slides, artifacts, and role play. We make sure to tell at least one story from the neighborhood of your school. Then we give students an educational history scavenger hunt booklet of Loudoun that we’ve designed to get them to go explore some of the best local historic places with their family.

Activities to follow Loudoun's Civil War Heritage

Fauquier's Civil War Heritage—A Civil War Sesquicentennial Program. Designed for 4th graders taking Virginia Studies or 5th graders taking U.S. History I, this program introduces Fauquier students to the story of their county in the Civil War and to its amazing Civil War landscape. Difficult local decisions about secession, the role of slavery in Fauquier, the first experiences with all-out war, the Union invasion, self-emancipation by slaves, and the engulfing nature of John Singleton Mosby’s guerrilla war that involved Fauquier citizens during 1863-65 are all brought to life with stories from local historic sites, photographs, artifacts, and role play. We make sure to tell at least one story from the neighborhood of your school—to have history hit home! Then we give your students an educational history scavenger hunt booklet of Fauquier County we’ve designed to get them to go explore some of the best local historic places with their family. Activities to follow Fauquier's Civil War Heritage

Berryville wagon train raid site, Clarke County

Berryville wagon train raid site, Clarke County

Clarke's Civil War Heritage—A Civil War Sesquicentennial Program. Designed for 4th graders taking Virginia Studies or 5th graders taking U.S. History I, this program introduces students to the story of Clarke County in the Civil War and to its amazing Civil War landscape. Difficult local decisions about secession, the role of slavery in Clarke, the first experiences with all-out war, the Union invasion, the coming of emancipation, the engulfing nature of John Singleton Mosby’s guerilla war that involved Clarke citizens during 1863-65, and the devastation brought to Clarke by 1864 are all brought to life with stories from local historic sites, photographs, artifacts, and role play. We make sure to tell at least one story from the neighborhood of your school—or two or three, since all three elementary schools in Clarke sit close to Civil War historic sites. Then we give students a scavenger hunt booklet of Clarke County that we’ve designed to get them to go explore some of the area's best historic places with their family.

Activities to follow Clarke's Civil War Heritage

Oatlands, Loudoun County

Oatlands, Loudoun County

Aldie Triangle Program—“Aldie Triangle Alternative Program”—a field trip program for 4th graders. To examine the impact of the Civil War on Loudoun’s civilians while also taking stock of the soldiers’ experiences here, this program makes use of several local historic sites—Aldie Mill, a milling complex at Aldie run as an historic site by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) where a skirmish took place and nearly burned down; another skirmish site, Mount Zion, a small 1851 country church, was used as a Civil War hospital with an adjacent Civil War-era cemetery (also NVRPA-run), and Oatlands, Loudoun’s largest plantation with 128 slaves hugely impacted by the War. Using historic site and heritage area staff plus a number of living historians and re-enactors, students see a range of Civil War experiences at the multiple learning stations they experience at the three of the sites. There is a $5 per student charge for this program. Note: In the past, we’ve offered this program only over two days using Aldie Mill, Mount Zion Church, and James Monroe’s Oak Hill, and thus only a handful of schools could participate. That version of the Aldie Triangle Program will be announced in late August. This year, we again offer a limited number of additional programs using Oatlands in lieu of Oak Hill so more schools get to experience this program. Each student receives an historical scavenger hunt booklet for your county to extend their exploration of the Mosby Heritage Area beyond class.

Activities to follow the Aldie Triangle program

Long Branch, Clarke County

Long Branch, Clarke County

Millwood Triangle Program—A field trip program for Clarke 4th graders. To examine the impact of the Civil War on civilians as well as soldiers while exploring some iconic landmarks on Clarke’s historic landscape, this new program uses several local sites to tell the story. In one day of rotating learning stations, students will visit three sites all in or near Millwood—the working 1780s Burwell-Morgan Mill, the iconic Carter Hall, and just across Rt. 50, Long Branch (see photo). The Clarke County Historical Association and Mosby Heritage Area staff plus a number of re-enactors offer students a range of Civil War experiences at the multiple learning stations they experience at three of the sites. Each student receives a historical scavenger hunt booklet for Clarke County to extend their exploration of the Mosby Heritage Area beyond class. Note: the admission charge to those sites charging same will be a student admission rate, with free chaperones at the rate of one chaperone per 10 students. We will announce that rate along with the specific date this program will be offered in the near future.

Activities to follow the Millwood Triangle program

Middle School Program Offerings

Arcola Slave Quarters, Loudoun County

Arcola Slave Quarters, Loudoun County

Slave Country, Right Here—Designed for 6th graders taking U.S. History I, this program can also be used with 5th graders taking U.S. History I. Most teachers and students forget that on the eve of the Civil War, Virginia had more slaves than any other state. This program examines the nature of enslavement and resistance to it by looking at stories from the historic landscape that still hint at what was in now largely suburban Northern Virginia. The program looks at slavery close to your school, and emphasizes slavery as it was in your county. Heavily illustrated, this talk is bold in grappling slavery yet sensitive to what an uncomfortable subject it is for modern children and particularly teachers. The stories are engaging and provocative, and time-tested with both student and adult audiences. Students will come away with an appreciation of just what places and stories are out there on the historic landscape.

Mosby Heritage Area Association volunteer Jim Hildbold with students at Mount Zion Church

Mosby Heritage Area Association volunteer Jim Hildbold with students at Mount Zion Church

Civil War Leesburg, 1862—Designed for Loudoun 6th graders taking U.S. History I. The year 1862 encapsulated Loudoun’s Civil War experience—the ever-present military, dog money, invasion, slaves running away, battles, and even romance—Leesburg saw what it had never seen before. Using local historic sites and their accounts and stories, this heavily illustrated program is an easy way to give your sixth graders a sense of the Civil War as it played out locally. We also incorporate what was going on near your school so that students can see the tie-in with the county seat’s experience. At the end, we give students a scavenger hunt booklet of your county we’ve designed to get them to go explore some of the best local historic places with their family! It provides you with an excellent extra-credit opportunity to get students to take history beyond the classroom.

One-room African American school built in 1910 across from the church in Ashville, Fauquier County.

One-room African American school built in 1910 across from the church in Ashville, Fauquier County.

The Big Change: Virginia after the Civil War—Designed for 7th graders in Loudoun, Clarke, or Fauquier counties taking U.S History II. With the end to the Civil War, Northern Virginia found itself undergoing massive change. With the end of slavery, the massive destruction of farms, the devastation of mills, the ruin of transportation infrastructure, and the rapid advent of soldiers with new life experiences, freedmen, new people, new ideas, and new inventions, the region could re-invent itself. To what degree did it do that? Using local historic sites and their gripping stories, photos and primary accounts, the local experiences of 1865-1888 will be examined. This program is particularly recommended for a near-the-beginning-of school 7th grade program.

Seeking Civil Rights: Snapshots from the Mosby Heritage Area—Designed for 7th graders in Loudoun, Clarke, or Fauquier Counties taking U.S History II. As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of key Civil Rights legislation and students likely see or hear of the film “Selma”, this program allows students to begin their exploration of the Civil Rights struggle closer to home here in northern Virginia. The Civil Rights movement and the problems that gave rise to it were alive and growing here in Loudoun, Fauquier, Clarke, Warren, and Prince William. The landscape of that era, the landmarks of that fight, largely still exist. Through photography and incidents based in that historic landscape, MHAA staff will present a collage of stories that give a sense of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s as the Civil Rights struggle evolved. Each student will receive a history scavenger hunt for their county as well as information about key sites of the Civil Rights fight that still are a part of their everyday landscape. New!

High School Program Offerings

Federal armory and arsenal at Harpers Ferry  

Federal armory and arsenal at Harpers Ferry

 

“Sometimes There Comes a Crack in Time”—Designed for mature 11th grade U.S. and Virginia History classes. This gripping program looks at the electrifying 1859 case of John Brown, as he attempted to begin a massive run-off of slaves by seizing the federal armory and arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Looking at the experience of the slave, the situation of slavery opposition on the eve of the Civil War, at the experience of the often-young abolitionist raiders, and the terrifying impact of the failed raid on Northern Virginia, this program features music, photographs, discussion, and dramatically re-created first-person story-telling of one of the Mosby Heritage Area’s most famous tales. Students will receive relevant web sites for follow-up research as well as a guide to local historical sites that tell the story of John Brown and slavery before the Civil War. Teachers will receive a Document-Based Question (DBQ) for use with Advanced Placement U.S. History which can serve as discussion material with other students.

Sullivan Ballou burial site, Manassas Battlefield, Prince William County

Sullivan Ballou burial site, Manassas Battlefield, Prince William County

“That Spring the War Came: 1861 in the Mosby Heritage Area"—Designed for 11th grade U.S. and Virginia History students. Inevitably, U.S. History students spend much time examining the growing sectional divisions before the Civil War and then give a brief perusal of strategy, battles, and Emancipation before heading on the Reconstruction—all worthy topics. But this leaves the history distant. What did this feel like for real Americans? For real Virginians? Using local places and historic sites, photography, primary sources, and stories, this program brings the reality of secession, nation creation, and the devastation of civil war alive through stories from Loudoun, Clarke, Fauquier, and Prince William. Afterwards, students receive materials to explore their historic landscape.

Old Gaol, Warrenton, Fauquier County

Old Gaol, Warrenton, Fauquier County

Fauquier’s Civil War: Looking Beyond the Textbook—Designed for 11th grade U.S. and Virginia History students in Fauquier County. Between AP and SOL demands, the Civil War can ultimately become a very academic and theoretical exercise. This is, of course, appropriate for 11th grade high school students. Yet high schoolers get around and have a strong grasp of the local area because of it. Taking the concepts, generalities, and national experience they study for AP and SOL requirements and seeing those play out with passion and place in their local community makes the Civil War have meaning—and changes how students see things. This program is specifically designed for Fauquier high school students and is a tour de force of the Fauquier historic landscape and its human interest stories. At the end of the program, we give students a history scavenger hunt booklet of your county we’ve designed to get them to go explore some of the best local historic places with classmates. It provides you with an excellent extra-credit opportunity to get students to take history beyond the classroom.

Clarke's Hotel, Millwood, Clarke County

Clarke's Hotel, Millwood, Clarke County

Clarke’s Civil War: Looking Beyond the Textbook—Designed for 11th grade U.S. and Virginia History students in Clarke County. Between AP and SOL demands, the Civil War can ultimately become a very academic and theoretical exercise. This is, of course, appropriate for 11th grade high school students. Yet high schoolers get around, and have a strong grasp of the local area because of it. Taking the concepts, generalities, and national experience they study for AP and SOL requirements and seeing those play out with passion and place in their local community makes the Civil War have meaning—and changes how students see things. This program is specifically designed for Clarke high school students, and is a tour de force of the Clarke historic landscape and its human interest stories. At the end of the program, we give students a history scavenger hunt booklet of Clarke County we’ve designed to get them to go explore some of the best local historic places with classmates. It provides you with an excellent extra-credit opportunity to get students to take history beyond the classroom.

Opening of Moses Pascal Watson's diary entry on April 13, 1865.

Opening of Moses Pascal Watson's diary entry on April 13, 1865.

“The War is All Over and the Negroes is All Free: Reconstruction in Northern Virginia"—Designed for 11th grade U.S. and Virginia History students. This program uses the local historic landscape with its still-standing sites and the stories that go with them to examine the end of the Civil War and the coming of Reconstruction as it played out in this region. Usually a period we skim over as too controversial, examining the devastation that befell this section of Virginia at the end of the War, the reaction of returning Confederates, Union occupation, the Freedman’s Bureau, the creation of freedmen’s churches and communities, the creation of public schools, and even the darker side of events such as lynching is all played out on the local landscape. The region even had a visit from Frederick Douglass himself, who journeyed by rail to a grove near Purcellville to speak to several thousand freedmen as whites nervously looked on. The program is lavishly illustrated with stories, photographs, and documents. Teachers receive a document-based question (DBQ) for their Advanced Placement (AP) students based on the program, and all students receive the latest edition of a history scavenger hunt booklet to explore and touch their county’s historic landscape. The program name is from a diary entry made by local mill operator Moses Pascal Watson in April 1865, commenting in a scorched mill ledger; his mill had been burned.

Douglass High School graduates, c. 1950, Leesburg, Loudoun County

Douglass High School graduates, c. 1950, Leesburg, Loudoun County

“Seeking Civil Rights: Snapshots from the Mosby Heritage Area”—Designed for 11th graders in Loudoun, Clarke, or Fauquier counties taking U.S and Virginia History . As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of key Civil Rights legislation and students likely see or hear of the moving film “Selma”, this program allows students to begin their exploration of the Civil Rights struggle closer to home here in northern Virginia. The Civil Rights movement and the problems that gave rise to it were alive and growing here in Loudoun, Fauquier, Clarke, Warren, and Prince William counties. The landscape of that era, the landmarks of that fight, largely still exist. Through photography and incidents based in that historic landscape, Mosby Heritage Area Association staff will present a collage of stories that give a sense of the 1940s, '50s, and '60s as the Civil Rights struggle evolved. Each student will receive a history scavenger hunt for their county as well as information about key sites of the Civil Rights fight that still are a part of their everyday landscape. New!

"Scouting Our Historic Landscape”—This summer program of local history exploration is designed for incoming 11th grade Advanced Placement U.S. History students. To get incoming AP students thinking historically, viewing issues from history, exploring their local historical landscape, and excited about history, this program uses their county’s history scavenger hunt from the Mosby Heritage Area Association as a summer pre-class assignment to be followed by a writing and discussion activity due early in the class. Hard or downloadable copies of the scavenger hunt are available for Loudoun, Clarke, Fauquier, and western Prince William counties along with suggested activities used by AP U.S. History classes locally.

Scavenger Hunts in the Mosby Heritage Area

Scavenger hunts are now available for Loudoun, Clarke, and Fauquier counties. Each with a map and careful directions for the driver, these scavenger hunts get your students and their families out into the history of your county, visiting historic sites, villages, and back roads that make our region unique.  You can download the scavenger hunts here on the website. They are also available in booklet form: they are given to all students when we visit your classroom with a program. They make a good extension to what you do in class and a great “extra credit” family activity. Students who complete the scavenger hunt are rewarded with a Mosby Heritage Area T-shirt. Please encourage students to explore their county with the scavenger hunt during the summer—there is no time limit.

It Happened Near Me:  Pieces of the Past From Where I Live

Want to work some local history examples into your U.S. History class so students see how their local area connects to what they are studying? Need to have your students work more with primary sources and photographs to develop their analysis skills? Need “sponge activities” for your students those first 10 minutes of class while you take attendance, hand out papers, and talk with individual students? You'll find the materials for "It Happened Near Me" activities here."

The John Singleton Mosby section on this website also provides you with further resources for extending studies beyond the classroom.