The Traveling Trunk of Civil War History

In 2014, center director Paul Quigley and graduate assistants Tom Seabrook and Kevin “Tiny” Dawson designed a new way to bring Civil War history into elementary school classrooms. The “Traveling Trunk of Civil War History” contains clothing, tools, images, documents, and other items that bring history to life for younger audiences. And it’s all housed in a replica Union army bread crate.

We created the Trunk with fourth-grade students–and fourth-grade “Virginia Studies” SOLs–in mind. But we can adapt the program to suit any age group.

The Traveling Trunk program has been visiting New River Valley classrooms in early 2024, and will again in Spring 2025. Contact Program Coordinator Rachel Stanley at to schedule a visit. 

Pictures from Traveling Trunk visits

Center faculty and graduate students have visited dozens of classrooms across Roanoke and the New River Valley, introducing elementary school students to the complexities of Civil War era history.

Paul Quigley presenting 2018

Paul Quigley presents 2014

Traveling Trunk materials

Paul Quigley with student 2018

Katie Brown presents 2019-2

Emily, Paul, & John with class 2018

Katie Brown presents 2019

Emily Wild 2018

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