Gary Gallagher: Takes his students to battlefields

Historians in the News

While most professors typically provide students with a semester of insightful instruction and a few office hours a week, Civil War Professor Gary Gallagher takes the concept of student-professor interaction to the next level by leading an interactive battlefield visit.

"I've always done the field trip," Gallagher said. "I think it's important to let students get out on the sites where things actually happened."

Not only will students visualize the logistics of battle during this year's visit to Spotsylvania -- they will also gain an appreciation of the soldiers' dramatic struggle.

"It evokes more of the historic past than just standing and talking to them or using a source of media," Gallagher said.

With a B.A. from Adams State College in Colorado and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, Prof. Gallagher previously held positions at the University of Texas at Austin, the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, and Pennslyvania State University.

Coming to Charlottesville nine years ago provided Gallagher with state-of-the-art research facilities and close proximity to places like Washington, Richmond, Duke, and Chapel Hill, all of which are important centers of historical study.

"I think I have the best job in the country," Gallagher said. "I wouldn't trade places with anybody. I was happy at Penn State, but we have wonderful libraries here. It's an absolutely splendid university with a wonderful history department."

The local community's natural desire for knowledge keeps Prof. Gallagher on his toes with special programs and lectures he coordinates through the School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

"I am very interested in public outreach," Gallagher said. "There is a large literate public interested in the Civil War … we've done more than a dozen of [these programs]."...
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