Editor's Letter

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Many people said we couldn’t do it: build a website in which you could search through hundreds of museum collections across the U.S. Without any government support. “Too ambitious,” said many archivists.

Well, we invite you to visit our revolutionary new Web site—www.AmericanHeritage.com and the National Portal to Historic Collections, created with our partner, the American Association for State and Local History. Now you can search collections from Antietam to the U.S.S. Constitution, and find fascinating artifacts that have been hidden on storage shelves and seen only by a handful of curators . . . until now.

Interested in muskets? Simply type that in the search field and you’ll instantly see hundreds from museums across the nation, pictures complete with museum-quality information. Ditto with naval paintings, swords, quilts, uniforms, spittoons, flags, or just about anything imaginable. Search a single collection, or all the museums in a certain locale.

And what other magazine has such a rich archive of the finest writing on American history? We have digitized 13,000 articles from the pages of American Heritage, an extraordinary wealth of articles by the most famous historians of the last half century and surprise authors such as John Dos Passos or Herbert Hoover.

Every day, we add more museums, their collections, and other heritage sites—so be sure to bookmark our website on your computer and smartphone, and check back frequently to see what’s new. (Let your favorite museum know that you’d like to see them on our site.)

You will now see many references in the magazine directing you to the website for more information. Along with our story by pirate expert Lindley S. Butler, for example, you can visit our website to see artifacts he helped recover from the wreck of Blackbeard’s flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge.

Our new site also coincides with expanded coverage of the Civil War sesquicentennial, which kicks into gear this spring with the anniversary of shots fired on Fort Sumter. In this issue, one of our favorite historians, James McPherson muses about why this conflict so fascinates us still. And our new expanded Civil War Chronicles department features first person accounts of the fateful spring months of the war. We think that you’ll shudder with the visceral sense of the war unfolding, walking shoulder to shoulder with people like you and I who had no idea of what lay in front of them.

On a more personal note, we’re also delighted to note that our executive editor, John F. Ross, received the first-ever Fort Ticonderoga Prize for Contributions to American History, a distinguished award given at a dinner at New York’s Union League Club. Congratulations from all of us!

Please Email Editor about what you think of this issue and our new Web site.