Filed under: News
The Friends and Descendants of Johnson’s Island Civil War Prison (FDJI) was awarded the Brian C. Pohanka Preservation Organization of the Year Award by the Civil War Trust at its annual conference on June 9, 2012. Dr. David Bush, president of FDJI and director of the Center for Historic and Military Archeology at Heidelberg University, accepted on behalf of the group. Bush called the award, “wonderful recognition of what the Friends and Descendants have done.”
The Civil War Trust highlighted FDJI’s outstanding educational programming in the award citation. Since the group’s founding in 2001, over 10,000 middle and high school students have participated in educational programming at Johnson’s Island. The program lets students learn and practice historic archeology skills as they help uncover artifacts in the ongoing archeological investigations at the site. In addition, each summer Johnson’s Island hosts a five week student field school, where students gain basic excavation and laboratory experience while receiving six hours of Heidelberg credit.
Johnson’s Island is a unique Civil War site located in Sandusky Bay in Lake Erie. From April 1862 to September 1865 it housed over 10,000 Confederate officer prisoners of war. The archeological remains of the prison now provide a glimpse of the day-to-day life of prisoners during the Civil War. There is also a Confederate cemetery where over 300 prisoners who died during their captivity are buried. FDJI’s next big project is to create more interpretative trails on the land they have excavated.
FDJI’s mission is “to preserve and maintain this National Historic Landmark for present and future research, educational, and interpretative uses.” For more information about Johnson’s Island and FDJI, visit their website at http://johnsonsisland.heidelberg.edu. They share this year’s Brian C. Pohanka Award with the Museum of the Confederacy, which was recognized for its new facility in Appomattox, Virginia.