May 8, 2019 | Mosby Heritage Area Association

The Mosby Heritage Area Association is pleased to announce that it has reached 54,033 students since beginning school programming in 2003.

In this current school year, 2018-2019, MHAA’s Director of Education visited 4,586 students across 40 different schools in four counties.  In addition to in-school programs, field trip programs were offered in Loudoun and Clarke counties, as well as immersion days such as “Civil War Day” in Prince William.

The Mosby Heritage Area Association offers a list of available school programs to teachers, to fit in with their current curriculum and studies. For elementary schools, there is: Revolutionary Loudoun, A Slavery Odyssey, Loudoun’s Civil War Heritage, Fauquier’s Civil War Heritage, Clarke’s Civil War Heritage, and the Aldie Triangle field trip program each April. For middle schools: Slave Country Right Here, War Comes to Loudoun: The Battle of Balls Bluff, Civil War Leesburg 1862, The Big Change: Virginia After the Civil War, and Seeking Civil Rights. For high schools: Sometimes There Comes A Crack in Time: John Brown’s Raid, War Comes to Loudoun: The Battle of Balls Bluff, That Spring the War Came 1861, Fauquier’s Civil War Outside the Textbook, Fauquier’s Civil War Outside the Textbook, Reconstruction in Northern Virginia, and Seeking Civil Rights.

In addition to surpassing the 50,000 students mark, Mosby Heritage Area Association was awarded a “Good Neighbor Grant” from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to support the “Local History in Schools” program.

On average, Mosby Heritage Area visits with more than 5,000 students in various school settings such as private schools, charter schools, Montessori schools, and of course, public schools each academic year. In addition to K-12 audiences, MHAA has enjoyed the experience of college interns from William & Mary, University of Wyoming, Ouachita Baptist University, Sweet Briar College and Northern Virginia Community College. Additionally, MHAA has participated in the Senior Capstone project for high school seniors. Mosby Heritage Area is also a crucial participant in other nonprofits’ educational events including the Journey Through Hallowed Ground’s Extreme Camp, NOVA Parks’ Onsite with Insight course, Morven Park’s field trip day, and NOVA Parks’ Civil War Camp.  As the mission of MHAA is “Preservation Through Education,” all efforts are focused to that end, in any form applicable to educating students of all ages about the extraordinary resources of the Heritage Area’s historic landscape.

Richard T. Gillespie, a 30-year veteran History Teacher at Loudoun Valley High School, largely designed the school programs beginning in 2004 when he came to MHAA as its first Director of Education.  Bringing the historic landscape into the classroom through stories, artifacts, and the distribution of scavenger hunts was met with great interest by teachers once they realized how nicely we could dovetail with their curriculum and enliven it through memorable presentations,” Gillespie remembers.  “We’ve been able to continue that tradition with superbly able and enthusiastic public history educators in the years that have followed.”

As MHAA is only staffed by three full-time employees, and receives no federal or state funding, it takes a community of dedicated supporters and volunteers to teach our school kids local history in a modern era when video games and social media take center stage. The new Education Director of MHAA, Anne Marie Paquette, brings a museum education perspective to this effort, invigorating the history programs with online platforms, youthful interests, and more open discussion about historically marginalized populations. “I’m thrilled to hit the 50,000 mark so early in my tenure at MHAA, and this goal has been met thanks to the diligence and passion of our staff past and present,” Paquette says. “We look forward to reaching 100,000 students across the Heritage Area, and to educating on a wide variety of topics from Pre-Colonial to 20th century history.”

As the 2018-2019 school year comes to a close, and as MHAA closes out its 16th year in school programming, MHAA wishes to extend applause to the local community who supports local history education – to the families who complete our Scavenger Hunts on weekends, to the visitors to historic sites or battlefields or museums, and to the students who pursue history in college or as careers. “It is up to us, to show the next generation how vibrant and relatable history is, so that someone is continuing to teach our great-great grandkids what people lived and worked through here,” according to MHAA’s President, Jennifer Moore.