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History's O'Connell Leads Lincoln Teach-In Webcast

History will help students and teachers across America commemorate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth.
Partnering with The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, History will host a National Teach-In celebrating the life and legacy of the 16th U.S. president on the bicentennial of his birth. Educators and students can tune-in and view the live Webcast at www.history.com/lincoln on Feb. 12 at 1:30 p.m. (ET).

For History, the Teach-In is part of the year-long, multiplatform "Give A Lincoln For Lincoln" initiative, which falls under the network's over-arching Save Our History outreach program.

Moderated by Dr. Libby Haight O'Connell, chief historian, senior vice president, corporate outreach at AETN, the teach-in will bring history to life through three prominent Lincoln scholars, who will share their expertise, answer questions from the live audience and field questions from schools tuning in via the Webcast.
The 45-minute event -- featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission co-chairman Harold Holzer and historian Matthew Pinsker -- will take place at the National Archives in Washington, where students from D.C. and Fairfax County, Va., will participate as a live audience.
Pre-taped questions have been prepared by students from Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles, Bethune Middle School in Shreveport, Lousiana and McMain Secondary School in New Orleans.
O'Connell, whose outreach extended to History's 160,000 teacher distribution list and various cable organizations, said some 5,000 middle and high schools have signed up for the Webcast as of late January. That includes over 1,200 schools operating within footprints served by Comcast (965), Time Warner Cable (292), Charter (222), Bright House (105), Mediacom (60) and Suddenlink (55), she said
"Our pitch to operators is the teach-in gives them a chance to showcase their systems. You need broadband to be involved," said O'Connell, who also notes there is interest from universities, libraries and adult learning centers. Sign-ups can continue until the Webcast.
Afterward, the archived program will be available at both www.history.com/lincoln and www.abrahamlincoln200.org.
As for the Give A Lincoln For Lincoln campaign, the goal is to encourage Americans of all ages to donate Lincoln-head pennies, five dollar bills, or make larger donations online to help preserve six key sites associated with his life and legacy. History is working with the National Park Foundation as a primary partner on the campaign, together with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Outback Steakhouse is the presenting sponsor of the campaign.
All donations collected through this initiative - scheduled to be collected throughout 2009 -- will be distributed to the NPF and the NTHP for the six Lincoln sites- his birthplace in Kentucky; his boyhood home in Indiana; his home in Springfield, Ill.; and the Lincoln Memorial, Ford's Theatre and Lincoln's Cottage, all in Washington, D.C.
Other elements include the aforementioned interactive minisite at www.history.com/lincoln, which is home to myriad original short-form videos about Lincoln's life, with lesson plans, background context and partner links
History has also contributed videos to Lincoln-themed exhibitions at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, Ford's Theater, the Library of Congress, and the traveling exhibition produced by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library in Springfield.
Additionally, the network has developed resources for schools such as standards-based curriculum materials and teacher's guides including primary source materials, developed with ALBC, and a box set containing educational materials about Lincoln developed by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American.
On Feb. 16 at 9 p.m., History will premiere a special that's not in most history books. O'Connell says Stealing Lincoln's Body examines a confluence of historical elements, including counterfeiting, the birth of the Secret Service, secret societies and the practice of embalming that kept the president's body from actually resting until 1901, 36 years after his assassination.
"It's a very interesting story involving counterfeiters and a plot to hold Lincoln's body ransonm" said O'Connell of the production, which includes an interview with Holzer and features moving images of Lincoln, digitally created from historical photographs.
O'Connell said the "virtual photography" looks authentic. "As an historian, I had misgivings. We didn't want to create fake history," she said.