We offer a wide variety of presentations on history and culture; we have presented for schools, private groups, clubs, museums, libraries, and others. The programs below are our most popular choices, but we are happy to custom tailor presentations for your group's particular interests. Our presentations are a minimum of 60 minutes, and usually run to 90 minutes with audience questions. We love to end our presentations with a conversation.
Rate: $350- plus travel expenses.
Our Standard Presentations:
Writing the Victorian Era: How Authors Bring the Past to Life
Want better insights into past cultures? Want to improve your own writing, or to learn how your favorite authors work their magic? Local author Sarah A. Chrisman will share her experiences writing both fiction and non-fiction about the Victorian era. She'll discuss research techniques that go beyond Google, how to use historical resources to gain a more diverse view of the Victorians, and how to avoid common pitfalls and prejudices when exploring the past. You'll never look at history the same way again!
Victorian Wedding Traditions
Ah, the romantic Victorians… And there are few things more romantic than a wedding. Did you know that Queen Victoria herself originated the custom of the white wedding dress? Or which two months were the most popular for weddings in Victorian times? Come learn about the beautiful and romantic traditions of the 19th-century.
An Ordinary Bicycle:
The Fascinating Ways Victorian Cyclists Changed Our World
When and why were roads first paved on a major scale? What's the difference between an Ordinary and a safety? What revolutionary change came to cycling in the 1890's, what significance did the bicycle have for women - and why did early bicycles have such a big front wheel? Learn the answers to these questions, and many more!
The Past Is A Foreign Country:
Understanding Historical Diversity Through Cultural Studies Techniques.
History is always seen as something dead and gone. People forget that societies in the past were active cultures, every bit as diverse and vibrant as any in the world today. Approaching history from a cultural studies perspective can revitalize our view of the past. Stereotypes and misunderstandings about historic cultures are every bit as damaging to people's view of history as they are to their outlook on the modern word. In this presentation, we'll be discussing how to transcend modern prejudices of past cultures and take a broader view. Studying and understanding temporal diversity helps everyone appreciate universals of the human experience, and respect the details that make us unique.
The History of Chocolate
Did you know that when the ancient Egyptians built the Great Pyramid of Giza, over here in the New World people had already been enjoying chocolate for almost a thousand years? Or that when you buy a Hershey's bar you're helping to support orphaned children and give them a better life? Come find out more about everyone's favorite sweet!
Come learn about the gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece: their identities, significance, and the legacies they've handed down to the modern world. Did you know that a number of modern sports have roots in ancient religious festivals, and that many of our modern government buildings borrow their architecture from Ancient Greek temples dedicated to the old gods and goddesses? Come find out more!
Beautiful Libraries of the World
Books are testaments to human knowledge and experiences, and the buildings which house them play a major role in human communities. The best libraries have been called "cathedrals of knowledge", and they truly merit the title. From the ancient Library of Alexandria through to some great libraries of our own time, come hear about the world's amazing libraries and how they've shaped human destinies.
A History of the Lawn
Why do people grow lawns, anyways? You can't eat them or sell them, and watching them grow is not particularly entertaining. Yet every year Americans spend $105 billion (yes, billion!) on their lawns. Why? Lawns are a fairly new phenomenon in the grand scheme of things. Come learn how an egotistical French king, a gardener who was offended by flower beds, and a Scottish sport all contributed to the modern state of America's yards. See you there!
The World to Your Door:
What the coming of the Sears & Roebuck Catalog
(and others like it) meant to rural America
There's certainly nothing new about mail-order business, the opportunities it opens up, or the controversies it creates. From a new suit, to a buggy, to delicious foods, live animals, or even an entire house, our great-grandparents could get just about anything through the mail! Join us to learn how mail order companies brought big city luxuries to remote outposts of rural America and the effects this had on our culture.
From the University of Minnesota Business School, after hosting us in March 2016 to speak to them about using cultural studies techniques to understand the past, historical living in the modern world, and integrating work with life:
A Trip and a Tumble:
A Victorian Cycling Club Story
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