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Date: April 16, 2013
Contact: Anne Strong
Telephone: (301) 279-9697

History Associates President Brian Martin Speaks on Use of New Media in Presenting Civil War History

Dr. Brian W. Martin, President of History Associates, the leading U.S. historical services firm, joined a panel of experts at Gettysburg College on March 16 to discuss future directions for the study of the American Civil War.   Dr. Martin, supported by historians Halley Fehner and Robert Colby, used the experience gained by History Associates in developing the Civil War Trust’s battlefield tour smartphone apps to comment more broadly on the influence of new media on the study of Civil War history.   The presentation was part of a major conference on the Civil War presented by Gettysburg College’s Civil War Institute, Gettysburg Foundation, and the National Park Service.

“New media opens up all sorts of opportunities to explore the surprisingly fluid boundaries between historical time and space; the producers and consumers of history; and the professionals from various disciplines that contribute to new media products,” Dr. Martin noted.   “The broad and deep interest in the American Civil War — especially during the sesquicentennial — provides fertile ground for digital history innovation.”

Dr. Martin joined scholars from the University of Richmond, George Mason University, Dickinson College, the University of South Carolina, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, and Furman University in discussing the benefits and drawbacks of technological advances in the study of the Civil War, and in history more broadly.   The panel commented on the positive aspects of new media, including increased access to source material, the broadening of the audience for historical content, the ability to create new interactive tools for historic sites, and the opportunities to create new interpretive narratives and experiences.

The panel also addressed the challenges presented by new media, such as determining and reaching the intended audience and the issues associated with crowdsourcing””opening up content development to potentially anonymous volunteers.   The tensions between allowing consumers of history to choose their own interpretive path and the need for expert curatorial handling of historical and digital issues also received a great deal of attention.

The interest generated by the Civil War’s 150th anniversary and the possibilities presented by new media have created opportunities to explore history in innovative ways.   Dr. Martin noted that History Associates is pleased to have worked with organizations like Gettysburg College, Gettysburg Foundation, and the National Park Service to bring fresh ideas to the interpretation of history adding, “With its expertise in historical content, interpretation, and production, History Associates will continue to be at the forefront of the development of history and new media.”

For more information about the conference, “The Future of Civil War History: Looking Beyond the 150th,” visit

About History Associates
For more than thirty years the historians and archivists at History Associates have demonstrated that history is valuable in the market as well as the marketplace of ideas. They provide professional corporate histories, exhibit content, interpretive planning, historical research, archival services, and collections management services to clients throughout the United States and around the world. History Associates strives to be The Best Company in History®, serving corporate, government, legal, and nonprofit clients from its headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. For more information, call (301) 279-9697 or visit

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