There is a mystery related to the US Civil War afoot, and middle schoolers are invited to help solve it! This online game, sponsored by the National Civil War Museum, with help from Hershey High School in Pennsylvania, resolves around a puzzling document found in the museum’s archives. At the same time the online players are trying to unlock the secrets of this document, which hints at discovering the “The Jewels of the Valley,” Museum Curator Brett Kelley will walk in the footsteps of a Confederate soldier for almost 300 miles. Kelley is hiking from Fredericksburg, VA to Harrisburg, PA from May 15-May 30, 2011 by tracing the route of General Ewell’s army as they marched North to invade Pennsylvania. He is dressed in a wool Confederate uniform and carrying the supplies typical for a soldier of that time. His experience along the way will be recorded by students at Hershey High School at their blog, On The March.
See this news clip to see Brett and learn more about his long journey:
The initial document for The Jewels of the Valleys game has been released; you can see it here. As the game progresses, additional clues will be made available through modern technology, including social media. The game will include analysis of primary source documents and Civil War communication technology, and seems to require some decoding of text, since the initial game site recommends you use this webpage as well as this one.
At the conclusion of Kelley’s march to Harrisonburg on May 30, prizes and certificates will be announced for:
Best Middle School Individual Historian
Best Middle School Team
Best High School Individual Historian
Best High School Team
Anyway, it looks like it will be a fun and interesting experience around a valuable cause. To join in on the game sign up on the project wiki.
Have fun and good luck to all participants!