Crossing Divides

Connecting Veterans, Teachers, and Students through Oral History

From June 19-30, 2023, Virginia Tech hosted a two-week summer institute to enable K-12 educators to incorporate Veterans Studies into their curricula and trained them to do oral history projects as class assignments. Virginia Tech faculty in the Center for Humanities, Department of English, and College of Education teamed up to host our first institute on veterans and oral history offered to K-12 educators. The first week of the institute was in residence at the Athenaeum at Virginia Tech’s University Libraries in Blacksburg, VA, where participants engaged in a series of workshops with oral historians, educators, visiting scholars, and veterans. 

During the second week, we traveled to Washington D.C., where we toured the Library of Congress and learned how to participate in the Veterans History Project. During our time at the Capitol, we also explored the Military Women’s Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery, and visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the World War II Memorial. At these historic sites, we enjoyed walking tours, lessons, and guest lectures from experts and insightful discussions with veterans.

We hosted 21 educators, who comprised a range of civilians, veterans, and military family members. We welcomed applicants from diverse backgrounds and across regions, career levels, and subject areas. Participants were teachers of History, Social Science, Civics, English Language and Literature, and Communications, and librarians. Answering NEH’s call for “Standing Together: The Humanities and the Experience of War,” this institute sought to bridge the military-civilian divide by teaching educators to engage veterans in their local communities and to inspire dialogue between veterans and students.

While the institute has since passed, we are providing resources and information to anyone interested. Please explore the links above to learn more about the institute, see our detailed schedule, browse institute readings, make use of additional resources, including open-access training modules for oral history, and meet our team and visiting scholars, and more. 

NEH Funding Acknowledgement: This institute is funded by the The National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.  

Policy Statement: Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this institute, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Principles of Civility: