Students who follow celebrities and other personalities on Twitter might think a new feature from the National Park Service is an engaging way to learn about U.S. history: The “Civil War Reporter” offers daily dispatches from reporter Beglan O’Brien, a fictional Civil War-era correspondent. “From politics to eyewitness accounts, O’Brien’s nose for news delivers fascinating updates, reporting on the people and events of the times,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “We hope this ‘real-time’ reporting will give modern-day Americans a unique insight into the war as O’Brien follows the story wherever it takes him, from assignments embedded with Union and Confederate soldiers, to covering President Lincoln at Gettysburg.” Students and educators can follow O’Brien’s updates on a website the National Park Service has created to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, as well as on Twitter or Facebook. The 150th anniversary website also offers a comprehensive calendar of 150th anniversary events at more than 70 national parks and partner sites across the country, as well as historical features and resources that illustrate how the events of 150 years ago continue to be reflected in America today. http://www.nps.gov/civilwar150

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Jeff Festa