Grade 6 to Adult Subjects

Nebraska’s Landmark Buildings

by Jeff Barnes

From the first trader cabins through the skyscrapers of today, the buildings of Nebraska tell the story of the state. They carry the tales of pioneers, of its emigrant and ethnic groups, of its famous sons and daughters, of its suffering through war, its prosperity in peace, and of its innovation and excellence.

Jeff Barnes, author of the new book 150 at 150: Nebraska’s Landmark Buildings at the State’s Sesquicentennial, features many of the buildings that have survived the decades, the architects who designed them, and the communities and people who used them. His talk also highlights Thomas Rogers Kimball, the state’s greatest architect and the newest inductee of the Nebraska Hall of Fame. Additionally, Barnes will also feature local landmarks for each community presentation.

Isaac Wiles & the Great Seal of the State of Nebraska

by John Schleicher

This program provides an overview of the history of the Nebraska Territory and Nebraska statehood and examines the origins of the Great Seal of the State of Nebraska through the life and times of Isaac Wiles, who settled in Cass County in 1856, led the 1st Nebraska Militia during the Civil War, and served in both the territorial and state legislatures. While serving in the state legislature, Wiles introduced a bill to provide a seal for the State of Nebraska and created the state motto “Equality Before the Law.”  

Walking With a Dream: John Neihardt's Preparation for Black Elk Speaks

by Timothy G. Anderson

John G. Neihardt and Nicholas Black Elk hit it off the first time they met. In a sense, both men had long been preparing for this meeting. Black Elk knew white storytellers from traveling with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, and Neihardt had spent years interviewing elderly Omaha tribal members near Bancroft, Nebraska. This allowed them to forge a bond that produced a 20th Century religious classic.

 

History of the Nebraska State Fair

by Jim McKee

Before Nebraska was even a state there was a Nebraska Territorial Fair, which was not only the first territory of the U. S. to have an official fair but it was the only territory to ever have a fair.  This program shows the development of the Nebraska fair from territorial days through the Omaha-based 1898 Transmississippi Exposition which replaced the state fair that year and the various cities which hosted the event before its “permanent” move to Lincoln and ends as the state fair moved to Grand Island.  

Frederick Douglass – The Voice of Abolition

by Spencer Davis

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was the leading African American abolitionist of the nineteenth century.  His “Narrative,” published in 1845, is a classic account of self-education as well as the most influential slave narrative.  Douglass’s belief that the progress from slavery to freedom required mental liberation as well as physical liberation provides the theme for this presentation.

And All That Jazz

by Randall Snyder

A survey of the development of American jazz from the late nineteenth century to the present, with special emphasis on its African American origins and the stylistic idioms of individual performers. Lectures will incorporate PowerPoint visual images with historic recordings and live demonstrations using piano and other instruments.

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.

A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America's First Indian Doctor

by Joe Starita

On March 14, 1889, Susan La Flesche received her medical degree―becoming the first Native American doctor in U.S. history. She earned her degree thirty-one years before women could vote and thirty-five years before Indians could become citizens in their own country. By age twenty-six, this fragile but indomitable Indian woman became the doctor to her tribe. Overnight, she acquired 1,244 patients scattered across 850 square miles of rolling countryside with few roads. Her patients often were desperately poor and desperately sick―tuberculosis, small pox, measles, influenza―families scattered miles apart, whose last hope was a young woman who spoke their language and knew their customs.

abuse is not LOVE

by Felicia Webster

abuse is not LOVE, is a spoken word play with the creative highlights and energy of Dani Cleveland, Doriette Jordan, Paula Bell and Felicia Webster. This highly charged 40 minute play uses interactive dialogue, gospel, hip hop and theater to disseminate information on the cycle of abuse. With personal testimonies and emotional ups and downs,  this is a show that is dedicated to keeping it real and telling the truth about domestic violence, it’s the healing journey and support needed to make it through the storm.

John & Mona Neihardt

by Brad Kellogg by Raija Weiershauser

Sit down with John & Mona Neihardt, as he writes at his typewriter and she works on a sculpture.  Listen in as they reminisce about their lives together, including their long distance courtship as Mona studied under Rodin in Paris and John’s travels to South Dakota to meet Black Elk.

Ahead of Their Time-The Story of the Omaha DePorres Club

by Matt Holland

Holland reveals the little-know story of the Omaha DePorres Club’s pioneering efforts to change the pattern of racial discrimination and segregation that existed in Nebraska’s largest city. Tracing the arc of the club’s evolution from its founding in 1947, Holland provides moving insights into the members and their motives, struggles, and victories.

The Desire to Be Heard: Art, Culture, and the Human Experience

by Christopher Krampe

In an increasingly numbers-oriented society, the value of the humanities face heightened scrutiny from politicians, employers, and the general public. Krampe explores the significance and importance of art throughout human history, and why some things are very important, even if they cannot be easily measured or quantified.  The presentation introduces cutting edge archaeological discoveries and research in the exploration of the human need to be heard.

Stories From Nebraska's Agricultural History

by Jody Lamp

Lamp honors Nebraska’s agricultural history with stories of the spaces, places, inventions, commodities, events, and people that made Nebraska one of the top agricultural states in the nation and gave rise to such slogans as “The Beef State” and “The Cornhusker State.” Lamp will enlighten and entertain with important and little know stories like the history of the Grand Island Horse and Mule Barn Markets.

More Than Football: George Flippin's Stromsburg Years

by Kathy Nelson

George Flippin, the son of freed slaves, is famous for being the first African American to play football for the University of Nebraska in the 1890’s.  He went on to become a doctor in Stromsburg. He was an eloquent speaker on behalf of African American’s everywhere, a world class doctor who delivered babies, healed the sick, and cared for the dying regardless of a families ability to pay. Nelson tells his story, which includes the first civil rights case in Nebraska.

Music on the Trail: Where American Folk Songs Meet Classical Art Music

by Donna Gunn

Venture from the mysterious bayou of the Deep South, experience the vastness of the open prairie, feel the energy from atop Scottsbluff National Monument, and triumph in the accomplishment of fording the mountains to the Promised Land as you cross the Oregon Trail. Gunn provides an interactive experience with music inspired from American Folk songs and brought to life by American composers such as Roy Harris, R. Nathanial Dett, and Aaron Copland.

Discoveries from the Fortepiano

by Donna Gunn

Travel back to the Enlightenment where intellectual and creative individualism flourished! Explore and hear the revolutionary developments in the piano that Beethoven, Haydn, and Mozart capitalized on in their composing. Experience the marked influence of Affekt and Strum und Drang;  feel the frustrations, angst, and joys expressed through the Viennese Sigh; all distinctive traits of the eighteenth century, where music mirrored the dynamic social changes of the time. Visual presentations and solo piano performance by Gunn.

Poetry of Women on the Land

by Lucy Adkins by Marge Saiser

Women pioneers and homesteaders played an important part in the development and heritage of Nebraska. In this program, Marge Saiser and Lucy Adkins will honor them, sharing poetry they have written from the point of view of Nebraska women living from the 1890’s to the present. In addition, to provide a flavor of daily living in early Nebraska, they will feature excerpts from diaries and letters of plains women from the past.

 

A Perfect Understanding: The Romance of John and Mona Neihardt

by Timothy G. Anderson

John G. Neihardt, Nebraska’s poet laureate, proposed to Mona Martinsen—and she accepted—before they had set eyes on one another. He was a poet and author, and she was a sculptor, and together they built a life based on something they called the “higher values” of art and beauty. Though to a large extent she set aside her own art for the sake of her husband’s, Mona was integral to his work, advising him and contributing to a life that made his work possible.

 

Lonesome Dreamer: The Life of John G. Neihardt

by Timothy G. Anderson

This program, which draws on Anderson’s 2016 biography of John G. Neihardt, examines the life of Nebraska’s poet laureate. Beginning with his birth in 1881 and highlighting the 30 years he lived in Nebraska, Neihardt’s life story covers the triumphs and disappointments he experienced in a publishing career of more than 70 years and the personal life that he enjoyed with his wife and four children.

 

A Bad Man in a Better Place: Jesse James in Nebraska

by Jeff Barnes

The notorious Jesse James typically isn’t thought of in connection with Nebraska… but he was here. Nebraska was where the outlaw could find family and friends. It was where he could plan robberies, make a recovery or an escape, and even sit for his most famous photograph. He wanted to buy a farm here and some even say he started a family here! Author Jeff Barnes shares what’s known of the truth, the fiction, and the legend of Jesse James in Nebraska.

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.

The African Presence in Spanish America

by Jose Francisco Garcia

Learn how the migration of millions of Africans into the Americas over a period of time stretching from the 16th century to 1862 has influenced the peoples, history and culture of Spanish America.

American History Told Through Mexican American Eyes

by Jose Francisco Garcia

The story of how historical events tie  Americans in general to the Spanish experience in the Americas.….from Cortez to Dia de los Muertos, the co-mingling of cultures contributes to our national heritage.   A quick study to help understand the relevance of Cinco de Mayo, Mexican Independence Day, Hispanic Heritage Month, Dia de los Muertos, Dia de los Ninos and other commemorations crossing over to American mainstream culture.

Getting to Know Weldon Kees Through His Songs and Lyrics

by Helen Waring Johnson

Beatrice Nebraska native Weldon Kees, known primarily for his dark poetry, was also one of the mid-century’s most versatile and artistic personalities–an abstract expressionist artist, photographer, accomplished pianist and  composer-lyricist of popular songs. Singer-Songwriter Waring Johnson discusses Kees and performs from this little known repertoire focusing on Kees’ witty, intelligent lyrics of songs written in collaboration with San Francisco clarinetist Bob Helm.

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.

 

Poetry from the Plains

by Twyla M. Hansen

Hansen will read selections from her poetry and discuss how the landscape of the Great Plains has inspired, influenced and shaped her writing. Her poetry follows in the footsteps of earlier Plains writers, using a sense of place to make connections between the natural and human worlds, the land and all its inhabitants–the ordinary, extraordinary food for poetry and stories about the human experience on the Plains and beyond. This presentation encourages audience questions on subjects of interest to creative writers.

Playing Around With Words: Poems, Stories, and the Creative Process

by Twyla M. Hansen

Creative writing is a process that thrives on practice. This writing workshop focuses on the creative process for both poetry and short prose. Twyla will use readings of her own and others’ writing, along with guided writing exercises, to create an interactive and supportive workshop. Through these exercises, participants will retrieve their own and others’ experiences to generate new possibilities for unique stories that might also be shaped into a poem or essay. For beginning and seasoned writers, middle school through adult.

The Klondike Goldrush , Seen Through the Eyes of Robert W. Service, Bard of the Yukon

by Stuart C. Lynn

In a Chautauqua-style presentation, Lynn portrays the Scottish-born poet Robert W. Service. Lynn revives the age-old art of storytelling with personal recollections and renditions of ballads about the Klondike gold rush. Service lived and wrote in the Yukon between 1903 and 1910. The program introduces listeners to such characters as Dangerous Dan McGrew, Sam McGee, Blasphemous Bill McGee, Salvation Bill and others.

Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X)

by Sharif Z. Liwaru

What did Malcolm X stand for and what significance does he have to the radical politics and movements of his time? I share his life as he describes it, as a “chronology of changes”, presenting a view of Malcolm’s life and the changes he underwent, as well as the relevance of his social, political, and even spiritual thought. The challenge is to take Malcolm X, all of him, and present this information in an accessible manner.

A Visitor from Russia

by Richard Kimbrough

Kimbrough assumes the personage of Dr. Viktor Ustinov, a Russian visiting the U.S.A. He points out cultural differences ranging from food to education to marriage. Later in the program he drops his “Russian” accent and addresses the audience as himself, but before he assumes his real identity, the audience will be forced to think about cultural and political differences. He has presented this program more than 500 times all across the nation.

Harvesting Foods and Medicines in the Dakota Tradition

by Jerome Kills Small

In this presentation, Kills Small describes the medicinal foods and plants that grow in the Missouri River valley, on the Great Plains and on up to the Rocky Mountains. He talks about the universal uses, legends and history of the plants in Native American life.

Wahtohtana hedan Nyut^achi mahin Xanje akipa (Otoe and Missouria Meet Big Knives)

by Matthew "Sitting Bear" Jones

This program examines the first and second meetings that Lewis and Clark held with the Otoe-Missouria nation. Through the Otoe-Missouria nation’s oral history this program examines the perceptions they had of these new wan^sige ska (white people). It also looks at the historical repercussions that the Otoe-Missouria experienced after this first contact and what the tribe thinks about this historical meeting today.

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.

Quilting Your Legacy

by Janie York

This program begins with stories about the men and women who helped shape Nebraska’s early quilt history and continues with a discussion of quilting as both a form of artistic expression and storytelling medium in our own culture. This program also demonstrates quilting as a method of recording family history. This program can be customized for any age group.

General George Crook: His Life and Times

by Greg Nestroyl

Dressed in period costume, Nestroyl introduces General George Crook with a program of entertaining history from an American Indian War veteran and humanitarian. Nestroyl presents reflections and experiences from on and off of the field of battle through the eyes of the man who was called the “Greatest Indian fighter in the U.S. Army.”

Nebraska’s Mexican-American Legacy

by Jose Francisco Garcia

A full 150 years before the 1st pioneer families entered Nebraska territory, Mexican traders, soldiers and explorers left their imprint on the land and its culture. Jose’s presentation takes you along on a journey of exploration that began in 1720 and continues in Nebraska to this very day.

The Irish in Nebraska, 1850-2000

by James P. Cavanaugh

This program is a review of the Irish in Nebraska from the days before the Nebraska Territory to the present.