Grade 4 to Adult Subjects

George Shannon: Youngest Member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

by Bill Hayes

Hayes presents the story of the Lewis & Clark Expedition through the eyes of its youngest member, George Shannon. In full costume, he shares his experiences that he had on the journey to the Pacific Ocean and highlights some of the adventures (and misadventures) of the expedition party. At the end of the presentation, Hayes steps out of character to give the audience “the rest of the story” about Shannon.

In Their Own Image: The Hidden History of African Americans in Omaha

by Patrick Jones

Go beyond negative headlines and persistent stereotypes to discover the rich, and largely hidden, history of African Americans in Omaha. Drawing on an array of digitized artifacts from the Great Plains Black History Museum collection, Jones offers a multi-faceted portrait of black life in Omaha since the late 19th century.

Corps of Discovery in Song and Story

by Michael F. McDonald

Through original songs and stories, McDonald leads a lively celebration of the challenges and adventures faced by the members of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery.

Meet Buffalo Bill

by Terry Lane

William F. Cody reflects on his life as express messenger, teamster, buffalo hunter, scout, actor, showman and builder of the West through a series of true-life adventures–from Bill’s perspective, of course. Length and content can be varied according to audience.

President U.S. Grant

by Thomas N. King

Step back to the Gilded Age and listen to the stories and personal history from one of America’s most popular and yet misunderstood Presidents. This Chautauqua-style portrayal takes President Ulysses S. Grant from personal mediocrity to his promotion to the highest-ranking general in the Union Army to his election as the eighteenth President of the United States. Complete with period costume, the presentation allows audiences to relive the two controversial presidential terms through the eyes of Ulysses S. Grant.

General U.S. Grant

by Thomas N. King

Step back to the Civil War era and listen to tales and personal history from one of America’s most famous generals. This Chautauqua-style portrayal takes Ulysses S. Grant from personal mediocrity to his promotion to the highest-ranking general in the Union Army. Complete with period costume, the presentation allows audiences to relive the war years through the eyes of General Grant.

Aaron Douglas, UNL Class of ’22: Visual Artist of the Harlem Renaissance

by Peggy Jones

This visual presentation will introduce the artist Aaron Douglas, the “Father of Black Art.” Douglas was the first Black graduate of the UNL Department of Art. His work is a celebration of Afrocentric Modernism, with which he established one of the earliest affirmative depictions of Black identity, history, and experience.

Nebraska Archaeology: 10,000 B.C.E. to Circa 1800 C.E.

by Nolan Johnson

This program discusses the lengthy human occupation prior to the arrival of Euro-Americans in Nebraska. The human timeline is divided into Paleo-Indian hunters, Archaic hunter-gatherers, Woodland horticulturalists, Plains Villagers, Horse Nomads, Coalescent, and post contact. Archeological evidence, including stone and bone tools, architecture, floral and faunal remains, and settlement patterns, are used to illustrate prehistoric lifeways.

Lewis and Clark: What Was Their Value Worth? --Seaman, York, Sacagawea and Pomp Stories

by Renae M. Hunt

The Corps of Discovery was a fascinating group of individuals. But there were four members of the corps that were “valuable” but not paid. Hunt discusses these four members and tells stories of their adventures. She also dispels a few myths about these members. This program is appropriate for all ages.

From Bleeding Kansas to Old Virginny: Songs and Stories of the Civil War

by Dan Holtz

For four years, the Civil War raged on such storied battlefields as Gettysburg and Antietam in the East to lesser-known places like La Glorieta Pass in New Mexico. With guitar and harmonica accompaniment, Holtz performs songs that express the war’s wide variety of sentiments, issues and stories. The program includes some of the popular patriotic and sentimental parlor songs. Thus, the war is chronicled and tied to memorable excerpts from some of the great conflict’s novels, poems and short stories. Holtz can also present the program as living history by portraying fictional Nebraska Territory settler Matthias Parker telling stories and anecdotes as though gleaned from newspapers of the day or from returning veterans. As Parker, Holtz comments on and quotes such personalities as Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee and John Brown.

Poetry of the African-American Cowboy

by Vicki Troxel Harris

A selection of stories from the African-American history of Nebraska have been put to rhyme as only cowboy poetry can be presented.  Harris draws from her research to share stories and poems of love, adventure, and respect, often with a bit of humor.  Those who have already heard the stories told in “African-American Homesteaders and Cowboys of Nebraska” will especially enjoy this program of history in the rhythm and romance of the range.

African-American Pioneers and Entrepreneurs of Nebraska

by Vicki Troxel Harris

African-American doctors, barbers, music teachers and innovative and prosperous orchard owners are some of the people who come to life in this presentation. Harris collected many oral histories while researching African-American settlements in Nebraska. Through her scholarship, Nebraska history has a fascinating new chapter.

African-American Homesteaders and Cowboys of Nebraska

by Vicki Troxel Harris

In the 1854 census of Nebraska, there were 14 blacks listed as slaves. After the Civil War, African-Americans came to Nebraska as cowhands, laborers, cavalrymen and homesteaders. Harris recounts many of the oral histories she has collected about cowboys, such as Jim Kelly and Amos Harris from the Lexington area and Roy Hayes of Cherry County “who could catch anything with legs.”

Excess Baggage: Riding the Orphan Train

by Charlotte M. Endorf

Charlotte Endorf traveled more than 15,000 miles, seeking the last surviving riders and descendants to document the real-life stories of the children who rode the Orphan Trains between the years 1854 and 1929. Dressed in period attire, she entertains and educates audiences of all ages about this little known Nebraska history.  She found she was related to an Orphan Train rider after thousands of miles of speaking about the subject.  Could you be too?  Charlotte wrote four books, produced two DVDs and a CD about this subject.  She took an actual 94-year-old Orphan Train rider to New York City to open her records that dated back to 1917.  The rider, who lived to be 100, traveled about 100,000 miles with her as she spoke.  She was one of the last of the Orphan Train riders Charlotte knew, and is sorry to note that she died in 2014.  This talk is great for many purposes, including women’s club meetings, libraries, town festivals, schools, nursing homes, and senior centers.

Maria Rodaway: Prairie Pioneer

by Karen Wyatt Drevo

Maria (portrayed by her great-great granddaughter in period attire) looks back at her life as a prairie pioneer in Otoe County, Neb., where she homesteaded in 1867. Maria crossed the Atlantic Ocean with seven children to reunite her family after a 7½ year separation. She endured grasshoppers, hail, drought, tornadoes, blizzards, and the loss of her husband and six of her 13 children as she worked to become a citizen and a land owner in a new country. Resilient and resourceful, she lived a life of usefulness to her family and large circle of friends with her loving deeds and kind acts, delivering babies and nursing the sick. Program suitable for children grade 4 to adults.

The History of Nebraska as Told by Peter Sarpy

by Darrel W. Draper

Dressed in period costume and speaking in his native French accent, “Peter Sarpy” describes the transformation of Nebraska from French colony to statehood. This dramatic one-act play uses humor, interactive audience participation and factual historical anecdotes to captivate youth and adult audiences alike. This living-history presentation is appropriate for schools, civic groups, churches, museums and festivals.

J. Sterling Morton: Author of Arbor Day

by Darrel W. Draper

This history program introduces the audience to the life of J. Sterling Morton, from his birth in upstate New York to his rise to power and fame in Nebraska. Within five years after his arrival at Bellevue, Morton was twice elected to the Territorial Legislature, appointed Clerk of Supreme Court, became Territorial Secretary and was made acting Governor at the age of 26. The founder of Arbor Day would later become secretary of agriculture. The presenter, in costume and in character, uses humor and pathos to give us new insight into Morton’s failures and successes, educating and entertaining audiences of all ages.

Daniel Freeman: America’s First Homesteader

by Darrel W. Draper

Hear Daniel Freeman’s amazing story as Darrel Draper portrays “Old Number One” in full costume. It is a Chautauqua-style, humorous and historically factual account of America’s first homesteader and the impact of the Homestead Act in settling the West. Recommended for ages 10 to adult.

George Drouillard: Hunter, Interpreter and Sign-Talker for Lewis and Clark

by Darrel W. Draper

In full expedition costume and voyageur accent, Draper combines history and acting ability to portray the life of Lewis and Clark’s most valuable expedition member.  Half French and half Shawnee Indian, this expert hunter, Indian sign talker and wilderness woodsman was called upon by the two captains whenever they needed a nearly impossible task to be completed. The audience will relive the humor, dangers, miracles and hardships of the expedition and receive a rare glimpse of how Shawnee spirituality contributed to the success of this amazing story of human perseverance and voyage of western discovery.

Abraham Lincoln: The Personal Side

by Spencer Davis

Lincoln’s greatness as president resulted from a life of continual progress and transformation. The obstacles Lincoln faced and the characteristics he expressed are the subject of this presentation.

Nebraska’s Winding Road to Statehood: In the Footsteps of a Female Settler

by Sara Brandes Crook

Barbara Kagi Mayhew Bradway, a female settler, recounts the issues of Nebraska’s territorial days. In a first-person portrayal, Sara Brandes Crook recounts Bradway’s impressions as an early permanent white settler. She also explores the Underground Railroad. Bradway was the older sister of John Kagi, who was a close confidant to John Brown.

Feathers and Verses

by Bill Clemente

This program is an exciting multi-media, multi-disciplined program specifically created to incite the imagination and enhance the writing skills of children, especially (but not limited to) 4th to 6th graders. This program combines slides and discussion of common Nebraska backyard birds, their songs, photographs and coloring-book pictures with a variety of creative-writing exercises.