Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln's Journey to Emancipation

Online Site Support Notebook: Programs for Younger Audiences

Traveling Civil War trunk show for children. The National Parks at Gettysburg has a traveling Civil War trunk show for children. The trunk is available for a two-week time frame throughout the school year for a nominal fee of $25.00 (used to replace worn and damaged items),
plus shipping and handling. If you are interested in receiving a trunk, please leave your fax number on the voicemail system of the Education Coordinator (717) 334-1124 extension 420. You will receive an application form and, if available, a trunk will be shipped to your school or library on a specified date. You will then submit a donation check covering the cost of the shipping expense of the trunk, average cost is $120. Once the slots are filled, you may be placed on a waiting list. See

  • Plan a program showing middle grades how to use primary sources in historical research.

  • Teen poetry writing and public reading on themes of freedom

  • Books: (also see book lists in Resources section of notebook)
    Maritcha: A Nineteenth Century American Girl, Tonya Bolden;
    Soldier's Heart, Gary Paulsen

  • Partner with a local children's museum on programs about the Civil War and Lincoln

  • A library on first tour partnered with a local newspaper, which ran six ads over the period of the exhibit, each ad on one exhibit theme, and asking children a question that related Lincoln's era to their lives today (Charleston County Public Library, Charleston, SC; exhibit coordinator Natalie J. Lawrence)

  • Plan a young people's chautauqua focusing on personalities, events, music, costume and other aspects of the Civil War era, with speakers impersonating public figures, simple craft activities, dancing and acting (this could be a series of programs throughout the exhibition period).

  • Include a title for young people in the Forever Free "One Book, One Community" series.

  • Plan a children's program on Civil War spies.

  • "Lincoln Loved Books, Too," bedtime stories at the library for the younger set.

  • Hold storytime sessions using books about Lincoln and his contemporaries (see book list for younger readers for examples).

  • Sponsor essay contests: "What Would Lincoln Think About the World Today?" "What If I Had Been a Slave?"

  • Help youngsters make simple toys from the period, e.g., daisy chains, wood whistles, and play games, e.g., leap frog, blind man's bluff, yo-yo tricks.

  • Play children's games from the Civil War era (see list of web sites for information).

  • Family activity night at the library with stories and songs about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War

Programs with schools

  • With a lead teacher or teachers, sponsor a "Forever Free" curriculum workshop for teachers in your area, using various curriculum materials.

  • Enlist a teacher or librarian to present a curriculum activity to a library audience of young people.

  • Encourage teachers at local schools to use Abraham Lincoln, Civil War, and emancipation themes in the curriculum during the exhibition.

  • The Library of Hattiesburg, Petal and Forrest County, Hattiesburg, MS, hosted a one day "Forever Free" symposium for secondary school teachers and the public with a master teacher and Lincoln scholars as presenters (contact library director Pamela Pridgen for information).

  • The Kentucky Library and Museum, Bowling Green, KY, presented three professional development workshops for teachers. Each featured historians and librarians talking about topics and discussing primary resources available in the area for teachers to use. The first workshop was about the Civil War in Kentucky, the second about slavery, and the third about the Antislavery and Emancipation movements.