Department Chair

  • James C. Harrison
    Professor of History
    Kiernan Hall 228

Gettysburg Semester

Selected history and American Studies majors may enjoy a one-semester (Fall) Civil War experience at Gettysburg College. The Gettysburg Semester is an interdisciplinary program in Civil War Era Studies. Students live in a Civil War-era house, take a variety of specialized Civil War courses, numerous field trips, enjoy access to specialized scholars as well as a wealth of primary Civil War sources, and some students may be able to earn internship credit. Siena students must pay Gettysburg College tuition and fees, but though a special arrangement, Gettysburg College directly bills Siena, allowing Siena students to use their financial aid, and Gettysburg offers Siena students a small discount. In addition, one spot is reserved for a Siena student until mid-March. Interested students MUST apply through the Siena College history department to gain admission to this program and to take advantage of our special affiliation with Gettysburg College. If there are multiple applications, a departmental committee will recommend who is to be selected. Contact Dr. Bruce Eelman for further information and application.

Lindsay Davenport '14 on the Gettysburg Semester:
     "I had first heard of the Gettysburg Semester when I visited Siena College on their Day of Living History. I struck up a conversation with a student who had participated in the program. Everything she said about the semester convinced me that I wanted to participate in it myself. I was determined to be one of the lucky few to win a spot when the next chance rolled around. Fast-forward to the spring of my first year at Siena (nearly a full year after I had first heard of the program). I applied as soon as possible and a few weeks later received the good news I had been waiting for - I was accepted!
I started there the next September and loved every minute of it. Everyone at the college was extremely welcoming and did everything they could to help the new students feel welcome. It was great to meet kids from all over the United States who had the same interests."
     I’d be lying if I said the semester was all fun and games. The work was challenging but rewarding. I learned so much in those few months and, to me, that is extremely valuable. Probably the most rewarding experience was the visits to the different battlefields of the Civil War. It was incredible to listen to the tour guides as they told us the stories of what happened there. These were places that I may not have had the chance to visit if not for this program.
     The internship I had during the semester was also extremely valuable. I loved working at The Shriver House; interacting with customers and giving tours. I was also given the chance to wear period clothing while working in the museum itself (and to a few reenactments), something that gave me a new perspective on the period I spent so long studying. With a career aspiration of becoming a curator, I really learned a lot about museums while working there.
     All in all, it was a great experience. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. If someone is thinking of applying for the semester, I encourage him or her to do so. Yes, the work is challenging but in the end it will be one of the most rewarding things he or she can do for their career."