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Upcoming and Ongoing Events

August 2015

August 31, 2015

Hollywood in the Heartland

Celebrate Iowa’s legacy with the silver screen throughout history. See how Iowa has been portrayed on-screen in films like State Fair, The Music Man, Cold Turkey, Field of Dreams, The Bridges of Madison County, and others you may not have seen. Meet the people who have made an impression on-screen and behind the scenes like John Wayne, Donna Reed and Jean Seberg, leading up to recent film stars like Tom Arnold, Ashton Kutcher, Brandon Routh and more.  From the Orpheum Theatre in Sioux City to the Adler in Davenport, uncover the beauty of historic theaters and their role in communities across the state.

August 30, 2015

Grass Between the Rails

The program celebrates Iowa’s railroad heritage with a unique blend of stories and original folk songs about the development of railroads in Iowa. The subjects cover events of national importance such as the race across Iowa to connect with the transcontinental railroad to the West, and local history, including the poor service offered by the “Slow Norwegian.”

August 29, 2015

Westward Ho, Nevada, a talk by Frank X. Mullen

Frank X. Mullen is the Reno-based newspaperman known for his hard-hitting investigative pieces. He broke stories about rural cancer clusters, dangerous Nevada doctors, and toxic clouds generated by burning munitions in Lassen County. In addition, he is the author of The Donner Party Chronicles: A Day-By-Day Account of a Doomed Wagon Train. Frank teaches journalism classes at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR); lectures about the history of the Silver State; and regularly performs in the Nevada Humanities Chautauqua and other Chautauqua venues nationwide.

August 27, 2015

The Anti-Slavery Movement in Black and White

Explore the history behind the anti-slavery movement in northern Illinois and examine the criteria historians use to separate fact from fiction.

August 25, 2015

Roebling in Wartime

History exhibit exploring the role played by the John A. Roebling’s Sons Company as a defense contractor during World Wars I and II and the effect of those conflicts on the company and its workforce.

August 24, 2015

Mapping the Merrimack: A Frontier Adventure into Uncharted Territory 1630-1725

The program describes some of the early survey techniques and cartography and is illustrated with the maps of the period.

August 24, 2015 to October 15, 2015

Bonfire of Liberties: Censorship of the Humanities

Censorship has been practiced for nearly as long as there have been materials to censor. The Bonfire of Liberties gives an overview of censorship in its various guises over time. Furthermore, it examines the struggle between those who want to censor difficult, controversial, and revolutionary material from sensitive viewers and those who want to protect the freedoms of all people to read, view, and think for themselves.

August 22, 2015

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Anatomy of a Masterpiece

Over the two centuries since its publication, the work has also served as a vivid allegory in debates about technology, slavery, and universal suffrage. Led by scholar Lance Rhoades, this multi-media presentation considers how Shelley addressed some of mankind’s greatest concerns with a creation that took on a life of its own.

August 20, 2015

The Ripple Effect: How Saving a River Revitalized a Community

This exhibit tells the story of the Reedy River and Lake Conestee, Greenville’s own environmental crisis and the community’s response to it. Decades of industrial waste polluted the Reedy’s water and created hazardous conditions in Lake Conestee. Through the diligence of local citizens and the Environmental Protection Agency, the Reedy was cleaned up, Lake Conestee transformed from a chemical wasteland to a nature preserve, and Falls Park created to become the pride and icon of Greenville.

August 19, 2015

“Family Stories: How and Why to Remember & Tell Them”

 Workshop to help people gather information about their family histories.

August 17, 2015

Spark! Poetry Writing & Recitation Competition for High-School Students

Entries open June 1 for Spark! Poetry Writing & Recitation Competition for High-School Students, with a submission deadline of September 30, 2015.  Clark County high school students in grades 9 – 12 are invited to submit original poems for the Vegas Valley Book Festival 2015 Spark!

August 16, 2015

The Triple Nickel: Black Paratroopers in Washington State during World War II

Trained by U.S. Forest Service Rangers, members of the 555 jumped on some 36 forest fires as first responders, including the 1945 Mt. Baker fire. In the process of helping to save our forest, they gained military fame as the first all-black “Airborne Infantry Firefighters.”  

August 15, 2015

Teddy Roosevelt's Nobel Prize: New Hampshire and the Portsmouth Peace Treaty

Teddy Roosevelt chose Portsmouth to be the site of the 1905 peace treaty negotiations between Russian and Japanese delegations to end the Russo-Japanese war. Charles Doleac's program first focuses on Roosevelt's multi-track diplomacy that included other world powers, the Russian and Japanese delegations, the US Navy, and New Hampshire hosts in 30 days of negotiations that resulted in the Portsmouth Peace Treaty and earned Roosevelt the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize.

August 15, 2015

Royals and Regalia: Inside the Palaces of Nigeria’s Monarchs

“Royals and Regalia: Inside the Palaces of Nigeria’s Monarchs,” collects photos from George Osodi’s ongoing project, which has taken him into the palaces of more than 20 kings and queens all over the country. The project is intended to show off Nigeria’s history and cultural complexity, and to promote harmony in a country often torn apart by ethnic and religious conflict. Osodi is excited to show this work for the first time in the United States because he thinks the project has special relevance for Nigerians who’ve emigrated abroad and their children, who have never been to their homeland.

August 13, 2015

The Maine Frontier: Through the Lens of Isaac Walton Simpson

The film is centered around a collection of over 1500 photos taken just after the turn-of-the-century by Isaac Simpson: photographer, blacksmith, barber, musician, woodsman, mechanic, and Father of 13. Isaac Simpson, his wife Effie, and their friends and family, exemplify the character, necessities, and unique condition of the turn-of-the-century northern Mainer.

August 11, 2015

The Finest Hours :The True Story Behind the U.S. Coast Guard's Most Daring Sea Rescue

On February 18, 1952, an astonishing maritime event began when a ferocious nor'easter split in half a 500-foot long oil tanker, the Pendleton, approximately one mile off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Incredibly, just twenty miles away, a second oil tanker, the Fort Mercer, also split in half. On both tankers men were trapped on the severed bows and sterns, and all four sections were sinking in 60-foot seas. Thus began a life and death drama of survival, heroism, and a series of tragic mistakes.

August 10, 2015

New Hampshire and the American Clipper Ship Era

Glenn Knoblock explores our nation's maritime past with this exciting look at the fastest sailing ships ever built in America. Learn how the clippers evolved, who built them and why, as well as New Hampshire's important role in supplying these unique ships. Though New Hampshire's coastline is only seventeen miles long, the state produced more clippers, all built at Portsmouth, than many other cities, bested only by New York and Boston.

August 9, 2015

A Visit with Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by Steve Wood, begins this program by recounting his early life and ends with a reading of the "Gettysburg Address."

August 8, 2015

"American Indian Music: Even More than Drums and Flutes," Scott Prinzing

This presentation looks at the history and development of Indian music from the traditional to the contemporary and explores a broad spectrum of American Indian music ranging from blues to folk, country to gospel, and heavy metal to hip-hop. You may be surprised by how many of your favorite musicians are American Indians.

August 7, 2015

Commemorating Genocide: Celebrating Survival

Exhibit on the history of the Armenian Genocide that explores the individual experiences and ethical challenges related to that event.

August 6, 2015

Vanished Veterans - NH's Civil War Monuments and Memorials

From Seabrook to Colebrook, Berlin to Hinsdale, New Hampshire's towns, individuals and veterans organizations erected a fascinating assortment of memorials to The War of the Rebellion. Beginning with obelisks of the 1860s and continuing to re-mastered works of the 21st century, historian George Morrison presents a diverse selection of New Hampshire's commemorations.

August 5, 2015 to September 14, 2015

Changing the Face of Power: Women in the U.S. Senate

Melina Mara began photographing the thirteen women in the U.S. Senate in 2001, continuing as their number grew to fourteen in 2003. Changing the Face of Power: Women in the U.S. Senate, the exhibition based on her work, was created by the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin.

August 4, 2015

Industry and Innovation in Bridgton: Products of New England Culture

Programs will run the gamut from formal lectures to guided historical hikes and hands-on activities for families.

August 3, 2015

Old Time Rules Will Prevail: The Fiddle Contest in New Hampshire and New England

 In recent years, the fiddle contest has declined significantly in New England due to cultural changes and financial viability. The greatest legacies of these contests were recordings made during live competition. A sampling of these tunes is played during the presentation, as well as some live fiddling by the presenter, Adam Boyce.

August 3, 2015 to August 29, 2015

Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy

In the early 1970s, Bill Wittliff visited a ranch in northern Mexico where the vaqueros still worked cattle in traditional ways. Wittliff photographed the vaqueros as they went about daily chores that had changed little since the first Mexican cowherders learned to work cattle from a horse's back. Wittliff captured a way of life that now exists only in memory and in the photographs included in this exhibition.

August 1, 2015

Inside Russia Today

The fall of Soviet Communism in the early 1990s catapulted Russia into a new social order.

July 2015

July 31, 2015

Building Communities: Mexican American Fast Pitch Softball Leagues

The project is part of "Hometown Teams," a statewide initiative exploring the way sports build and unite communities.

July 30, 2015

Writing War

After more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, an impressive cadre of writers has emerged from the ranks of America’s military to put stories of war and homecoming on paper.

July 27, 2015 to September 4, 2015

Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World

This Humanities Texas traveling exhibition looks at the remarkable life and achievements of one of America’s most beloved personalities. Besides serving his country as a skillful diplomat and negotiator, Benjamin Franklin was a scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, humorist and philanthropist whose wisdom and wit continue to inspire and entertain us more than three hundred years after his birth.

July 25, 2015

Zora in the Harlem Renaissance

This program will discuss Zora Neale Hurston in context of the Harlem Renaissance through discussion of: the social, political, economic and cultural factors that produced the Harlem Renaissance.  Harlem Renaissance icons (Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Cab Calloway) will also perform in Jacksonville in the now depleted Ashley Street district.

July 25, 2015

Walt Whitman's Lincoln

In this presentation, esteemed storyteller and actor Brian "Fox" Ellis re-creates one of the lectures that Whitman delivered annually on Lincoln's birthday after his death. These lectures interspersed commentary on the significance of Lincoln's life and work with Whitman's Civil War poems, including "The Artillery Man's Vision," arguably one of the first accounts of post-traumatic stress disorder as experienced by Veterans in American literature.

July 24, 2015

Young Historian Night at the Museum: Hometown Teams

See young adults perform their interpretation of historical figures with a sports connection. The performances are the result of mentored workshops that focus on historical research.

July 23, 2015

Domestic Servants in the Nineteenth Century

Having live-in domestic servants seems like the height of luxury today, but in the nineteenth century, "hired girls" were common in middle-class households in Illinois. In a society without electricity and running water, household chores were onerous, and in the nineteenth century, a wave of immigrants made labor cheap and plentiful. The result was a society that grew increasingly stratified as the century wore on and the social hierarchy became more entrenched. In domestic servant situations, working-class men and women lived and worked side-by-side with their employers yet were considered second-class citizens, often leading to tense relationships.

July 21, 2015

The Harvey Girls' Multicultural Workforce

The Fred Harvey Company not only hired recent immigrants to work in their famous Harvey House restaurants, they actively recruited them. Eventually African American workers became a part of the workforce, and during World War II American Indians and Mexican Americans were hired as well.

July 19, 2015

Roycroft Lecture Series with Timothy P. Schmalz

Timothy Schmalz will be discussing his artistic process and his recent interest and research on the Arts & Crafts Movement and its history.

July 18, 2015

A Closer Perspective: Furthering Access to Native Culture

The Arts Council, in partnership with the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce, will work to deepen community engagement in an on-going project to authenticate local native culture and provide community access to native arts and culture. A free public lecture/discussion will be at the Bethel Inn to explain the Wabanaki culture.

July 17, 2015

Lewis & Clark & American Indians

While Lewis and Clark were the first Americans to see much of what would become the western United States, those same lands had long been occupied by native peoples.          

Over the course of the expedition, the Corps of Discovery would come into contact with nearly 50 Native American tribes. Quickly, the captains learned how many different definitions there really were for the word “Indian.” The Mandans lived in earth lodges, farmed corn and were amenable to trade with America. The Teton Sioux slept in tepees, hunted buffalo and guarded their territory fiercely against anyone who passed through, whether foreign or Indian. Some tribes had never seen a white or black man before Lewis and Clark. Others spoke bits of English and wore hats and coats they received from European sea captains.

July 16, 2015

Historic Pioneer Trails Through Southwestern Iowa

This presentation on trails of southwestern Iowa covers the explosive years between 1804-1857 for the still relatively new American republic.

July 15, 2015

Robert Frost: The Impossibility of Interpretation

John Ward (Centre and Kenyon Colleges) will lead a presentation on Robert Frost that will provide a true taste of the Maine Humanities Council's programming.

July 14, 2015

The Star-Spangled Banner and the Struggle that Forged Two Nations

The War of 1812 contributed significantly toward defining the identities of the United States and Canada. The many songs composed during the war and its aftermath -- including our own national anthem -- express a broad range of Native American, white American, British, and Canadian perspectives. They demonstrate that perceptions of war and its repercussions can vary widely, depending on one's experiences of them. Skilled guitarist and singer Lee Murdock performs several of these songs and provides commentary about them based on his extensive research.

July 10, 2015

Preservation of the Dress Collection

Learn about a multi-month project to catalog, photograph, label, and preserve the historical society's collection of wedding dresses, Halloween Queen gowns, and early 1900s dresses.

July 9, 2015

Industry and Innovation in Bridgton: Products of New England Culture

Programs will run the gamut from formal lectures to guided historical hikes and hands-on activities for families.

July 7, 2015

Stay On, Stranger - 1876—1962

The story of Alice Lloyd College, a four-year liberal arts work college in pippa Passes, Kentucky.  It was co-founded by the journalist Alice Spencer Geddes Lloyd and June Buchanan in 1923, at first under the name Caney Junior college, as an institution to educate leades for Appalachia locally.

July 6, 2015

Hollywood in the Heartland

Celebrate Iowa’s legacy with the silver screen throughout history.  See how Iowa has been portrayed on-screen in films like State Fair, The Music Man, Cold Turkey, Field of Dreams, The Bridges of Madison County, and others you may not have seen.

July 1, 2015 to July 25, 2015


William Shakespeare is the quintessential subject for a humanities program. Born into a culture formed by the great humanists of the Renaissance, he peopled the stage with characters that embody both the glory and riddle of being human.

June 2015

June 22, 2015 to July 11, 2015

Working Warriors: Military Life Beyond Combat

About 75% of military work is considered non-combat. These roles rarely make the headlines, but are vital to every military operation. Exploring the non-combat roles of military service personnel, including work as beauticians, military police, dentists, mechanics, and photographers, this exhibit showcases an often overlooked but highly relatable side of military life.

June 19, 2015 to August 15, 2015

Behold the People: R. C. Hickman’s Photographs of Black Dallas, 1949–1961

R. C. Hickman was a Dallas photographer whose thousands of images produced from 1949 to 1961 document aspects of life in an African American community in Texas. His photographs depict a community largely invisible to white Americans—thoroughly a part of mainstream America by virtue of accomplishment and lifestyle but excluded from it because of race.

June 6, 2015 to September 7, 2015

American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood

Exhibition on the connections between Benton's art and the movies

June 1, 2015 to October 31, 2015

Through Her Lens: Women Photographers of Mid-Coast Maine, 1890 – 1920

This interactive, multi-site, multimedia exhibit at the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport will highlight women’s roles in culture through the exploration of the lives and work of four women photographers who lived and photographed in mid-coast Maine at the turn of the 20th century.

May 2015

May 17, 2015 to September 13, 2015

The Red that Colored the World

From Antiquity to today, as symbol and hue, red has risen to the pinnacle of the color spectrum.

May 8, 2015 to November 28, 2015

Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave ship to Pirate Ship

Discover the Whydah, slave ship turned pirate ship, which sank in U.S. waters in 1717.  Using actual artifacts recovered from the wreckage of the Whydah, this exhibit will reveal the trails and tribulations of pirate life in the 18th century.

January 2014

January 15, 2014 to December 31, 2017

In Pursuit of Freedom

Exhibition on the unsung heroes of Brooklyn’s anti-slavery movement