Teaching with Museum Collections

A display in the park's museum.  The museum is located on the second floor of the visitor center.

NPS photo

Teaching with Museum Collections

The following six lessons rely on museum artifacts and historical documentation from collections at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. Taken together, they create a powerful, historical background that can be used to enrich your students' understanding of the Appomattox Campaign, the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, and the reunification of our Nation.

*National Standards addressed are listed within each plan, but teachers may also want to refer to the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) correlations for these lessons.

I. Students should begin any of the lessons with the "How To Study an object" examination tool. This item will ask them to analyze the artifacts contained within each lesson.

II. Be sure to view/print the lesson plan and the supplementary materials contained in each section for guidance on how to use the material.

The Flags of Appomattox (Lesson Plan) and The Flags of Appomattox (Supplementary Materials) What the banners laid down at Appomattox Court House tell us about the men who fought during the Civil War. Discover actual flags that were present during the Appomattox Campaign and have survived to be viewed at the park's museum today. This lesson plan uses actual flags and flag remnants to show how powerful these symbols were during the Civil War and what they meant at the surrender.

Ely Parker (Lesson Plan) and Ely Parker (Supplementary Materials) The story of the only American Indian present at the Surrender and how he came to be there. Ely Parker was a Seneca Indian who served as a bridge between the worlds of American Indians and non-American Indians. As Grant's secretary, he was in the McLean parlor during the meeting and responsible for creating the final draft of Grant's surrender terms to Lee on April 9, 1865.

Not to Take Up Arms Again (Lesson Plan) and Not to Take Up Arms Again (Supplementary Materials) The Parole Passes of Appomattox Court House. As directed by Grant; 28,231 parole passes were issued to Lee's troops after the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia. These passes assisted the former Confederates in many ways during their trips home. For the men surrendered at Appomattox Court House, their parole passes marked an end to perhaps the most important chapter in their lives. For us today, the same passes serve as a beginning into the investigation of the lives these men lived before and after their surrender.

Silent Witness: Surrender Souvenirs from the McLean House (Lesson Plan) and Silent Witness: Surrender Souvenirs from the McLean House (Supplementary Materials) On the afternoon of April 9, 1865 the parlor of the McLean house in Appomattox Court House was the scene of one of the seminal events in American history. The items present in the room that afternoon have their own stories to tell about what happened there that day and afterwards.

"The Sweeneys are indeed a Wonder!" (Lesson Plan) and "The Sweeneys are indeed a Wonder!" (Supplementary Materials) The Sweeneys of Appomattox brought the banjo -America's instrument- into the world of popular music before and during the Civil War.

Justus Altmiller - "Days of Auld Lang Syne" (Lesson Plan) and "Justus Altmiller - Days of Auld Lang Syne" (Supplementary Materials) Altmiller had been in America for just ten years before fate landed him on the doorstep of history positioning him to contribute the soundtrack that accompanied one of the most significant events in the history of America.

III. To help you evaluate students' work, the following rubrics are provided.

Last updated: February 16, 2018

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Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
P.O. Box 218

Appomattox, VA 24522


434 352-8987

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