Past is Prologue

Clint Schemmer writes about history, heritage preservation and the American Civil War.  On Facebook: Past is Prologue  On Twitter: @prologuepast  ContactEmail Clint or call 540/374-5424.

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Robert K. Krick gets the iPhone

MORE: Read more news from Fredericksburg

Rob Shenk (left) and Robert K. Krick speak Monday to the media about the Chancellorsville battle app. (photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi/The Free Lance-Star

Fredericksburg historian Robert K. Krick apparently doesn’t own an iPhone. (Though he’s plenty web-savvy.)

He cetainly understands the power and appeal of Apple’s insanely popular digital device, and what it can do for today’s visitors to Civil War battlefields and national parks.

Don’t take my word for it. Watch this video clip from yesterday’s press conference at the National Park Service’s Chancellorsville Visitor Center and hear what Krick has to say.

His chief partner in developing the Civil War Trust’s new iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch app for the Chancellorsville battlefield, Rob Shenk, was effusive in praising Krick’s contributions to the project.

“He’s a man of an earlier generation; he’s not someone born with an iPhone in his hand,” Shenk said in an interview later Monday at Chancellorsville. ”But he quickly saw the opportunity it provides to accelerate and advance the interpretive offerings of this battlefield. So he went out there with gusto to work on it.”

Krick “wrote the vast majority of the content you’ll see in the app,” he said.

The retired National Park Service historian, author of 17 books, wanted to add  interesting information derived from recent scholarship or historical understanding, Shenk said. And he pushed to include images of rare Civil War artifacts that were unpublished or not widely known.

“He really strove to make this an innovative, expansive, new offering for this battlefield,” Shenk said. “I think he did a great job on all of those fronts.”

The trust has benefited from a strong relationship with the National Park Service on all of its battle-app offerings, he said.

Another local Park Service historian and author, Frank O’Reilly, was instrumental in laying out the tours–and providing the on-screen video talent–for the trust’s Fredericksburg’s battle app, its second after Gettysburg, Shenk said.

At Manassas National Battlefield, Superintendent Ed Clark and his staff guided the historical content and imagery in its Bull Run app, which gained international media attention during this summer’s 150th anniversary commemoration and re-enactment of that battle.

And now, Robert E.L. Krick, a historian at Richmond National Battlefield Park, is moving heaven and earth to help create a battle app for Malvern Hill, Shenk said.

The National Park Service historian, author of “Staff Officers in Gray” and other works, is the son of Robert K. Krick. He grew up on the Fredericksburg-area battlefields.

(And for the record: The title under Shenk’s name in the video is incorrect. He is the Civil War Trust’s director of Internet strategy and development. My goof.)