April 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the first hostilities of U.S. Civil War, and museums, municipalities, historic sites, and of course schools are making their preparations for the events and exhibits to commemorate it. And while, no doubt, times are tough for funding cultural heritage projects, there's a lot of excitement and momentum building around the sesquicentennial, making it a great opportunity for those exploring how technology can make history more interactive.
There are a lot of websites with information about the Civil War and -- no surprise -- a growing number of mobile apps. But here's a small list of some of the geekier ways you can learn about the sesquicentennial.
On the iPad with The Civil War Today: Created by History and A&E, the Civil War Today iPad app (iTunes link) offers daily updates, chronicling the events that occurred 150 years ago. The app includes newspaper headlines as well as personal letters and diaries. There are videos and maps (including period maps) and a daily count of casualities on both the North and the South. The app costs $7.99.
On Twitter with @CWD150: There are a number of Twitter accounts that are planning on "real time" (well, "real time" plus 150 years) updates about the Civil War. But my recommendation is to follow the Civil War Data 150 project account -- @cwd150. CWD 150 is working to link historical data so that information isn't "trapped" within particular federal, state or regional websites or archives.
WIth Augmented Reality and Jewel of the Valleys: The Jewel of the Valleys augmented reality game will kick off on May 15. The game will be offered by the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and is designed for middle and high schoolers, as well as the general public. (You can read more about using augmented reality for Civil War-related field trips here.)
In 3D with Library of Congress: The Library of Congress is featuring images of original Civil War stereographs on its Flickr stream. 3D photography first became popular around the Civil War and many of the war's photographs were designed to be viewed in 3D.
With Google Earth and Google Sketchup and the American Civil War 3D: The American Civil War 3D website is a collection of Google Earth and Google Sketchup models, including a very impressive 3D version of Fort Sumter before it was attacked.