The Western Maryland Interpretive Association has announced the launch of a brand new Web site for the Antietam Battlefield Guides. The Web site provides details about the guide program, reservation instructions and individual guide pages. Three of the guides have personalized pages detailing their interest in the Battle of Antietam, and more will be added. "We hope that all of the guides will eventually be featured on the site, and also have their group photo, which will be taken soon," said Antietam Battlefield Guide Jeff Driscoll. "Every guide has the option of having a personal page or pages created."
The battlefield guides have a variety of backgrounds. Some are retirees and others are local scholars who have studied the battle throughout their lives. All guides must pass a written and verbal test to prove they have significant knowledge of the battle, as well as give a tour to one of the Antietam park rangers. In addition to knowledge of the battle itself, they must be familiar with all the area landmarks and features of historical interest.
There are 10 guides available for tours of Antietam National Battlefield. Tours can take place anytime during regular park hours. They can be scheduled for weeks in advance and in some instances, guides who live close to the park are available for walk-ups. Typical tours last for two hours and cost $50 for up to six people. They cover the Battle of Antietam and the Maryland Campaign of 1862. Customized tours can be scheduled if planned in advance.
"The guide service is a great addition to Antietam Battlefield," says Antietam Battlefield Guide Dr. Tom Clemens. "Live guides enhance the visitor's experience by offering a more personalized tour. Answering questions, visiting off-the-beaten-path sites and tracking a particular unit through the battle are just a few of the custom services only a live guide can provide. It is the personal touch that visitors tend to remember."
Last year, the Battlefield Guide service conducted approximately 350 guided tours. Sept. 17, 2007, marks the 145th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam. A variety of special events are planned locally and at the battlefield to commemorate the anniversary.
The Antietam Battlefield Guides Web site can be viewed online at www.antietambattlefieldguides.com. It was designed by Icon Graphics in Hagerstown.
POSED BY: Tom Shay (from today's HAGERSTOWN MAIL)
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