Each year, National Parks are required to submit an accounting of the Interpretation and Education program offered during the fiscal year, and a narrative providing highlights of the year. This year was so wonderful at Fort Donelson, we ran out of characters on the report form...among what was submitted in the report...
This year, Fort Donelson National Battlefield commemorated the 150th anniversary of this Civil War campaign and significant battle. In February, 2012, dozens of volunteers from across the country participated in a spectacular living history event that retraced, as much as possible, the Confederate evacuation of Fort Henry, in many cases following the same roads as the Confederates did 150 years before. Almost all of the great Fort Donelson historians and writers joined us for special programs, including Jack Hurst, James Knight, and Kendall Gott, whose presentation at FODO was filmed for broadcast on C-Span and is currently streamed on C-Span's website. Park staff offered special and additional public programs at the park's Fort Heiman unit. The 150th anniversary of the surrender of Fort Donelson was commemorated with a special program featuring dozens of volunteers and a nationally-known Ulysses Grant portrayer. This Grant portrayer also visited several local partnering school districts and engaged with over 1000 students. In March, the park was graced with a return visit by NPS Historian Emeritus Edwin Bearss, who did multiple programs in the field. The park's curriculum based education program again reached over 10,000 students, as the park made additional contacts with new schools and groups, specifically in middle and western Tennessee and in Kentucky. The annual Memorial Day weekend luminary program continued the park's partnership with the local community's "Eagle Fest" program. The park's monthly film and book discussion programs continued to be successful, especially the park's partnership with the Calloway County (KY) Public Library. Additional natural resource interpretive programs highlighted the park's resident Bald Eagles and other resources, and created an additional 1,128 contacts. A Labor Day living history encampment interpreted Federal occupation at the Fort and in Dover following the 1862 battle. A partnership with local Inman Middle School Band resulted in a spring series of public concerts, featuring Civil War era music and the public debut of a new arrangement of an 1860's piece of music called "Fort Donelson is Ours!" Additional musical programs by the local Civil War Singers and the Cumberland Winds were offered throughout the year. A park-sponsored bus tour for the community to Shiloh introduced over 50 people to that site and that battle's role in the timeline of the War.