The Gettysburg Virtual Tour is a unique “teacher’s tour” initiated and produced by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in 2013 around the Gettysburg National Military Park. Matthew Pinkster, a Civil War historian, provides reliable and detailed information dedicated to the Pennsylvania campaign of 1863 and the Battle of Gettysburg in a highly comprehensible way. In general, the Battle of Gettysburg plays a significant role in the history of the United States as it had a dramatic impact on the outcomes of the Civil War. The victory of the Union established its political dominance and ended the Confederate forces’ control over the North.
The Gettysburg Virtual Tour is not limited to only one area. Matthew Pinkster aims to capture and transmit the exact atmosphere of the battle along with previous and subsequent events by visiting multiple locations including the Eternal Light Peace Memorial, McPherson’s Woods, Barlow’s Knoll, Stratton Street in Gettysburg, Virginia Monument, and Longstreet’s Statue, Seminary Ridge, Little Round Top, Little Round Top, Meade’s Headquarters, Soldiers’ National Cemetery, and Gettysburg Battlefield. It is possible to see landscapes, multiple monuments dedicated to the participants of the CIVIL War and the Battle of Gettysburg, in particular, used armament, and soldiers’ tombs and memorials.
From a personal perspective, the quality of the Gettysburg Virtual Tour may be defined as excellent. In his video, Matthew Pinkster emphasizes teachable insights and human stories that may be regarded as the most peculiar features of the tour. In other words, the narrator presents the most significant historical facts not from the position of the official statistics but real-life participants. This approach helps the audience to understand that history was created by ordinary people with their fears, emotions, and thoughts.
Concerning the website, its high quality is undeniable as well. The full duration of the Gettysburg Virtual Tour is one hour, and it is freely accessible. However, for the viewers’ greater comfort, it is divided into short videos that imply distinct sections dedicated to particular events of the campaign, battle, and its outcomes. Every segment is supported with a brief description for a better understanding of its content. That is why, the tour may be interesting for foreigners attracted by the history of the United States, whose level of English is not advanced. In addition, the supporting handouts are available for all visitors as well, and they may be used for educational, non-commercial purposes. At the same time, access to videos on the website may be slightly improved. When visitors click on any multi-media clip, they are currently redirected to another site where video play starts. However, if a video was played directly on the Gettysburg Virtual Tour’s website, it would be more comfortable for navigation.
In general, this virtual visit is highly recommendable for any student who studies history, for any citizen who is proud of his or her country’s history, and any professor who prepares a lesson in a secondary or undergraduate classroom dedicated to the Civil War. It helps to examine the Pennsylvania campaign of 1863 and the Battle of Gettysburg comprehensively as the video contains not only the narrator’s speech in different locations but a considerable number of paintings and photos that help viewers to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of that historical period. In general, I would like to visit Soldiers’ National Cemetery and Gettysburg Battlefield as I was inspired by this virtual tour and it is always better to see something one time with your own eyes instead of reading or hearing about it.