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PR Newswire

History Field Trip Grant Program's milestone trip saw 115 Virginia 6th graders immersed in the past at Pamplin Historical Park and National Museum of the Civil War Soldier 

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- When Erin Gilbert and her colleagues at White Oaks Elementary School in Fairfax County, Va., set a syllabus and planned their year, they were excited by the prospective return of a once-beloved sixth-grade field trip sidelined since COVID. Their application to American Battlefield Trust's History Field Trip Grant Program, which helps fund student trips to historic sites, pushed that initiative past a remarkable milestone: 50,000 children served.

"We save hallowed ground so that this and future generations can use it to learn essential lessons of American history at the places where it unfolded," said Trust President David Duncan. "It makes a lifelong impression when school kids can visit historic sites in person, have an immersive experience and walk away with a deeper understanding of the past and how it remains relevant."

The History Field Trip Grant Program was conceived in 2014 and has grown steadily, underwritten by donations from Trust members, with just under 800 trips now funded. In total, it has sent school children to 205 historic sites in 43 states; more than 60 percent of impacted classrooms across 37 states and the District of Columbia are in Title 1 schools.

"There really is nothing like having the chance to be transported into the past by exploring a historic site or living history opportunity," said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), co-chair of the Congressional Battlefields Caucus, whose Northern Virginia district includes White Oaks Elementary. "The Trust's work to make that experience accessible to all American school children is commendable and I'm thrilled that history-loving students from the 11th District were the ones that pushed this worthwhile program over its impressive milestone."

Gilbert, chaperones and about 115 sixth graders boarded buses early April 18 for the trip to Petersburg, Va., where they explored the 424-acre Pamplin Historical Park. The students were able to soak in the full measure of the park's fascinating heritage. They felt and heard the experience of battle in the park's award-winning National Museum of the Civil War Soldier. They walked in the footsteps of the soldiers and saw the actual entrenchments they built during the Siege of Petersburg. 

"We were thrilled to go back to Pamplin Park, a site that is always a huge hit with students because they get a powerful sense of connection with what ordinary people in the past went through," said Gilbert. "The Trust's History Field Trip Grant Program helped make our journey more affordable and can help put memorable trips within reach for other schools too."

The History Field Trip Grant Program allows K-12 educators to apply for up to $3,000 to offset the cost of day-trip field trips to battlefields, museums and other historic sites in alignment with the Trust's mission. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and funds are dispersed after receiving the required forms and receipts. Full details and application materials are available at

The American Battlefield Trust is dedicated to preserving America's hallowed battlegrounds and educating the public about what happened there and why it matters today. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected more than 58,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War across 155 sites in 25 states. Learn more at

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SOURCE American Battlefield Trust

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