Sunday, January 12, 2014

Maine in the Civil War grant brings history to life - By Michelle Libby

History is all around us and now thanks to a two-year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Windham and Gorham will be doing a community read, a theater production and online exhibits as required by the grant and many other activities inspired by the Civil War era. 
Manchester teacher Sabrina Nickerson applied for the grant when her class was raising money to replace 50 to 60 bronze markers, which identify soldiers from the Grand Army of the Republic. This Civil War tie-in was being facilitated by the American Legion chapter 148. Although no money from the grant went into that project, it encouraged the students to learn about the Civil War. 
The Local and legendary: Maine in the Civil War grant needed three entities, according to children’s librarian Laurel Parker, educational (Nickerson), library (Parker) and historical (Linda Griffin) to meet the requirements. 

The Gorham Arts Alliance will produce the play, while Windham and Gorham will do community reads of the book “The Mostly True Adventure of Homer P. Figg” by Rodman Philbrick. Discussions will take place on February 27 at 7 p.m. at the North Gorham Library, March 12 at 1:30 p.m. at Baxter Memorial Library in Gorham and on March 18 at 4 p.m. (child focused) and 7 p.m. (adult focused) at Windham Public Library. The grant was used to purchase books for the library to lend out and 30 copies were purchased for Manchester School’s fifth grade to read and each teacher has a kepi Civil War hat to display. 

Other events are the discussion of the journey to writing “Joseph K. Manchester, Northern Son in the South, 1861 to 1863” by author Carol Manchester on January 12 at 1 p.m. at the Windham Hill UCC Church and a Civil War encampment and re-dedication of the Civil War monument in Gorham Village in May. 

“We’re trying to involve different parts of the community,” said Parker. 

Windham and Gorham were very instrumental in the production of powder used in the Civil War. 

Twenty-five percent of the powder used was generated in the oriental powder mills at Gambo Dam. 
The Maine Memory Network run by Maine Historical Society is an online storehouse of thousands of historical items. Windham will be adding to that site as part of the grant. A scanner was purchased for the Windham Historical Society to preserve their historical information. 

There are more programs and events going on this year. For more information visit, or call 892-1908 in Windham or 318-0584 in Gorham.

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