J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

A Preview of History Camp America 2021

Via Vimeo, here’s a preview of my video presentation “Washington in Cambridge and the Siege of Boston” prepared for History Camp America 2021, an online event coming up on 10 July.

I’ve presented at History Camp Boston since its beginning and at a couple of Pioneer Valley History Camps as well. They’re fun events that bring together academic historians, public historians, living historians, independent historians, and unabashed history buffs (often overlapping categories) to learn about all sorts of topics and research.

Unfortunately, for the last two years the Covid-19 pandemic has made large public get-togethers risky. In 2020 the History Camp organizing team produced America’s Summer Road Trip instead.

This year, the team invites people to register for History Camp America, gaining access to over two dozen video presentations covering a wide range of subjects (listed here). Registration costs $94.95, and for another $30 folks can receive a box of goodies from History Camp sponsors and participating historical sites. Households who register can watch videos and participate in scheduled live online discussions on 10 July, and they’ll have access to the entire video library for a year.

When I first thought about presenting at History Camp America, I pictured another live Zoom talk. But we’ve seen a lot of those, right? Then Lee Wright of History Camp and I developed a way to take better advantage of the video format by recording segments at more than half a dozen historical sites linked to Gen. George Washington’s mission in Massachusetts in 1775 and 1776.

We still have stuff to learn about making such videos, from wardrobe choice and collecting good sound next to traffic to remembering which of the four lessons I talk about is number two. But overall I’m pleased with the way this video turned out. I’ll tune in on 10 July to offer commentary and answer questions in the session chat room. I hope you folks will join me!

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