(1) General Subjects

Computer Games: From Pokémon to Cutting Edge Research

by Donald Costello

Costello’s presentation will re-examine the social and learning values of games and envision the myriad future uses for and developments in computer and video games.

How Chocolate Twice Conquered the American Continent: A Deliciously Historical Perspective

by Jose Francisco Garcia

The tale begins with 2000 year old murals depicting the uses for chocolate and continues to the present time witnessing the allure and power chocolate continues to have on human society.  Garcia shares the history of cacao and discusses its value as a worldwide commodity.

America’s History, People and Culture on Postage Stamps

by Bob Ferguson

High-resolution images of stamps displayed on a large-screen TV illustrate a patriotic story presenting military heroes from the Civil War to Vietnam, presidents and celebrities who served, veterans organizations, memorials to the fallen, and symbols of American ideals. Other themes with appropriate stamp images available for this program include: women, African Americans, the American Revolution, the settlement of the West, and National Parks. For general audiences; collectors will also be interested.

U.S. Stamps Tell A Story; A Few Have More Than One

by Bob Ferguson

How have advances in mail delivery been chronicled on stamps? What innovations in stamp design and production have been introduced over the years? How have errors on stamps discovered by the public created valuable collectibles and embarrassments for the post office? These questions are answered with the aid of high-resolution stamp images – true works of art – displayed on a large-screen TV. For general audiences; collectors will also be interested.


Sand Hills and Sandlots: The Amazing Story of Rushville's Modisett Ball Park

by Jeff Barnes

The panhandle town of Rushville loved and played baseball like most Nebraska communities. Unlike all others, it was the recipient of a beautiful ball field from the state’s biggest rancher and the host of a Major League baseball school and try-out camp, whose students included a Nebraska boy who struck out Mickey Mantle. Barnes tells the fascinating story of Rushville’s 130 years with baseball and how residents past and present came together in 2014 to rebuild Nebraska’s own “field of dreams.”

19th Century Fun, Farces and Frivolities

by Marla Matkin

A highly amusing, entertaining, not to mention unique look at the social activities, entertainments and recreations enjoyed by the folks of the 19th century.  Members of the audience become part of the show as they learn firsthand the dances, parlor amusements, games and theatricals enjoyed by country and city folk alike long before the advent of TV and electronic diversions.  It’s down home good fun no matter the century.

Native American Stereotyping in Popular Culture

by Nancy Gillis

Presentation complete with plenty of example on the negative stereotypical images found in advertising, cartoons, movie plots, and collectibles. Beyond just raising awareness of the problem, the presentation explores way to dispel these myriad incorrect images.

Postwar Pop: Memorabilia of the Mid-20th Century

by Donald-Brian Johnson

From the 1920’s onward, America was flooded with pop culture collectibles. Johnson’s entertaining, informative program examines how these trend of the times came to be.  A colorful power point presentation, and artifact samples, bring the mid-twentieth century vibrant life. Topics (holiday’s, World War II, ceramics, glassware, etc..), can be tailored to specific audience interests. Retro, yet up-to-the-minute,  “Postwar Pop” is and invigorating exploration of the tastes that shaped an era.

A Century of Fashion: 1870-1970

by Sue McLain

Step back in time to discover the history of fashion from 1870 through 1970 and see authentic clothing from the past.

Leslie & Julia Stephen: A Victorian Man and Woman

by Evelyn Haller Harris

In this presentation, Leslie and Julia Stephen, parents of Virginia Woolf, represent Victorian man and woman. A man of enormous energy and achievement, Leslie was an outstanding Alpine climber who wrote a book on the subject. Later, he was editor of The Cornhill Magazine, founder and editor of The Dictionary of National Biography and editor of The Men of Letters series of literary biographies. Julia wrote and published a book as “Mrs. Leslie Stephen” entitled “The Care of the Sick in the Home,” a subject about which she had extensive knowledge. Photographer Julia Margaret Cameron was Julia’s aunt, and this program is illustrated with her images.

The Bible in Popular Culture

by Leonard J. Greenspoon

The Bible is the most widely read (and misread), quoted (and misquoted), translated (and mistranslated) document in our society. In movies and TV shows, in newspapers and magazines—and not just in our churches and synagogues—the Bible is used by large numbers of people to defend and attack opinions on many important issues. This illustrated lecture looks at how popular culture views the Bible and explores what this tells us about the sacred text and the secular world we inhabit.

The Ancient World in American Popular Culture

by Leonard J. Greenspoon

Ancient Egypt, classical Greece and the Roman Empire are everywhere these days. This illustrated talk explores many ways in which movies, the popular press, museum exhibitions, TV shows, comic books, the Internet — and other forms of popular culture — entertain and educate us about the ancient world, and what all of this tells us about antiquity and about our own world of the 21st century.

It’s Only Rock & Roll

by Randall Snyder

This presentation takes a look at popular music and its interaction with social history, with topics ranging from Elvis Presley and the origins of rock to the Beatles and the Stones to punk and alternative rock forms.

Mark Twain and the Lecture Circuit

by Wally A. Seiler

The great American humorist Mark Twain turned to lecturing as a method of making money. His lectures competed with other forms of entertainment, but he always drew a large audience. His secret was the wonderful stories he told, some true and some fabricated. In this presentation, Twain look-alike Seiler recounts some of Twain’s best-loved writings as he might have presented them on the lecture circuit.

A Day in the Life of a Victorian Lady

by Patricia Pixley

Using authentic artifacts and costume, a day in the life of a Victorian lady unfolds, from breakfast through afternoon tea. By examining the social customs, dress, etiquette and decorative furnishings of the 1870s and ’80s, audiences learn about the social conventions surrounding the organization of the household, the maintenance of social status and the role of etiquette in determining place in the Victorian-era community.