Teacher makes history personal to make it come alive

By Steve Cichon

It’s D-Day, and many of us have lamented that “the next generation” doesn’t have any knowledge or connection to one of the most gruesome days in American history.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

“Many of the military histories came alive in our classroom,” says Jason Steinagle, award-winning history teacher at Hamburg Middle School. He encourages kids to look to their family trees to make history more meaningful.

Jason Steinagle, in Revolutionary War era costume, helps make history come alive for his students.

“Many students actually found artifacts within their families. Letters home from soldiers, medals that they had won. Personal history. The kids made a personal connection to it, and that’s one way to keep history alive,” says Steinagle.

A passion for history and an appreciation of our collective past is a life skill that can be learned, and used beyond seventh grade, and Steinagle considers inspiring that his life’s work.

It’s more than “just history.”

That’s why Steinagle has helped organize Living History Day, where students and the community at large are immersed into the culture of the several eras through demonstrations and hands-on activities.

“We’re trying to influence the next generation of leaders for our country,” says Steinagle. “It’s very important for them to understand and appreciate who we are as Americans. Good or bad, right or wrong, we need to learn to appreciate what we can learn from our history and who we are as Americans.”

“It’s what moves us forward and makes us a better people,” says Steinagle.

Living History Day
Thursday, June 7, 2018
Free Family Event
SUNY at Fredonia Campus
4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

The Boston Historical Society with Hamburg Kiwanis and other local partners proudly offer the Living History Day, a free family event that transports the community back in time to early American history.

This event is unique to the area and is more than a battle reenactment since it immerses participants into the culture of the era through demonstrations and hands-on activities.

We have invited selected schools throughout the area to attend from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The community is welcomed between 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. We may offer an opportunity to:

· Attend presentations of student research
· Participate in the cultural traditions of the Seneca Nation and the Iroquois Confederacy
· Appreciate historical perspectives
· Loyalist and Patriot
· Union and Confederate
· Learn British tactics during the Revolutionary War
· Communicate messages across the battlefield with the Signal Corps
· Discover primitive medical technologies and techniques
· Drill with reenactors
· Enjoy a ladies’ fashion show
· Examine essential household items from the 19th Century
· Interact with historical interpreters Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Mary Walker, and Generals Lee & Grant
· Listen to the bugle calls
· Load an artillery piece
· Measure and analyze with Army Engineers
· Meet the horses and understand the advantages of the cavalry during the War
· Play cricket
· Realize the challenges of living on a 19th Century farm
· Recognize the work of the Sanitary Commission with wounded soldiers
· Visit the tent of a leather sutler
· Watch as blacksmiths shape iron

To learn more about our event, please call the Boston Historical Society at (716) 941-5139 or email directorofeducationbhs@gmail.com.

Published by

Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo’s pop culture history. His stories of Buffalo's past have appeared more than 1600 times in The Buffalo News. He's a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. Since the earliest days of the internet, Cichon's been creating content celebrating the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The 25-year veteran of Buffalo radio and television has written five books and curates The Buffalo Stories Archives-- hundreds of thousands of books, images, and audio/visual media which tell the stories of who we are in Western New York.