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Decoding the Civil War (Huntington Libraries/NHPRC consortium)

The U.S. Civil War still captures, as does Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, the imagination and passion of young and old. While perpetually fascinating, with all we know and have learned, there is still much to discover with new materials, new stories. Decoding the Civil War is an online resource for multiple grade levels that invites students to examine actual telegram messages and place them in social and historical context. See this free resource at

President Abraham Lincoln was American’s first “technology” president, using emerging telegraph technology in war, politics, and even his personal life. These educational modules incorporate content from telegrams that were transcribed through the work of citizen archivist on the Decoding the Civil War website. Inquiry materials were developed using the Inquiry Design Model (IDM)—an inquiry-based instruction design method endorsed by the leading social studies professional organization National Council for the Social Studies.
The Decoding the Civil War project offers three types of instructional materials: Inquiries, Explainers, and Activities. The goal of these instructional tools is to provide educators with high-resolution images of primary source materials from The Huntington’s collections, along with didactics that support using the materials in flexible and dynamic ways across multiple grade levels.

Decoding the Civil War was funded by a two-year grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). It was a consortium project to digitize and transcribe the Union Army telegrams from The Thomas T. Eckert Papers housed at the Huntington Library, with the hope that the transcription and decoding of Civil War telegrams will engage, and fire curiosity, in new and younger audiences.
The five members of the Decoding the Civil War consortium were
* The Huntington Library (
* Zooniverse (
* North Carolina State University (
* C3 Teachers (
* Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library (

--Submitted by John Lee, Teacher Education and Learning Sciences, North Carolina State University
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