#QR1863 receives Honorable Mention as Outstanding Public History Project

National Council on Public History News Release

Note: Information on all award-winners is at http://ncph.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2014-NCPH-Awards-Listing.pdf.

#QR1863 receives Honorable Mention as Outstanding Public History Project

The National Council on Public History (NCPH) has announced 2014 award winners. In the category Outstanding Public History Project Award, #QR1863: A Twitter Reenactment of Quantrill’s Raid, produced by Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area and partners, was selected for Honorable Mention.

This award is presented for work completed within the previous two calendar years that contributes to a broader public reflection and appreciation of the past or that serves as a model of professional public history practice. Recognized in the news release from NCPH were event coordinators from participating organizations Julie McPike, Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area; Christine Metz Howard, Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau; Abby Magariel, Watkins Museum of History; and Kristen Soper, Lawrence Public Library.

Freedom’s Frontier, the other organizations listed above, and the Lawrence Arts Center produced a Twitter-based reenactment of Quantrill’s Raid on Lawrence to commemorate the sesquicentennial. Local actors, re-enactors, history buffs and social media lovers adopted personas of those involved in the raid and tweeted as though events were happening in real time. Community members began tweeting as their characters in early summer 2013, but the bulk of the action occurred in the early morning hours of Aug. 21, the day 150 years earlier that William Quantrill and 400 of his men rode into Lawrence murdering and burning as they went.

The hashtag #QR1863 trended worldwide the day of the reenactment with over one million Twitter users seeing or using the hashtag a total of five million times. The reenactment garnered national press and has won two state awards and now, with this Honorable Mention, a national award.

A Kansas Humanities Council grant allowed noted Border War scholars, Missouri State University history instructor Jeremy Neely and KU history professor Jonathan Earle, to moderate the Twitter conversation around #QR1863. In the evening of Aug. 21, Neely and Earle led a scholarly discussion on the day’s posts and the aftermath of the raid.

#QR1863 followers were riveted. Some commented that they were so drawn in by the project that they had trouble concentrating while at work. One said he found the tweets moving, though he hadn't expected to.

In addition to the organizations listed above, 1863 Commemorate Lawrence, the City of Lawrence, Castle Tea Room, WOW! and over twenty volunteers also sponsored the Twitter project, or made in-kind donations.

The Freedom's Frontier Interpretive Grant Committee has awarded the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau a grant to work with the Watkins Museum of History to archive the #QR1863 Twitter project for future use by museums and schools.

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