Living History Programs & Stories

 

Many of these programs are now available for in-person booking. Please contact Matt Gagle at to schedule a program today! You can also request one of the following Speakers Bureau topics through our online form.


These programs feature our historical re-enactors, performing first-person portrayals of prominent figures in Montgomery County’s history. Speakers appear in costume and in character to add an element of historical realism to your event or series.

 

Byline: Ernie Pyle

Speaker: Steve LaRocque with Kathie Mack

Byline: Ernie Pyle is a one-man, one-hour show created by Steve LaRocque to showcase excerpts from the wartime columns of Ernie Pyle. The script consists entirely of excerpts from Pyle’s reports from the front, used by permission of the Scripps-Howard Foundation. One of the first “embedded” reporters, Ernie Pyle wrote a column that ran daily in Scripps-Howard newspapers during World War II. Byline: Ernie Pyle features actor Steve LaRocque as Ernie Pyle, recounting the major events of World War II in Pyle’s own words. The actor becomes the reporter, appalled at the tragic waste of war and the brutal conditions it imposes on the men who fight it, yet personally committed to going back to it, again and again.

*In-person only*

 

Songs & Stories from the Blue & the Gray
Reenactor: Patrick Lacefield
Join this descendant of Civil War veterans who shares songs and stories from the War Between the States, wearing both blue and gray, accompanying himself on guitar.

 

*In-person only*

 

Albert Einstein: The Human Side: A Visit with His Loyal Secretary, Helen Dukas

Speaker: Candace Ridington

Candace Ridington portrays Albert Einstein’s long-serving secretary, Helen Dukas, co-trustee of the Einstein estate and archivist of his papers after his death. Learn about what Helen calls “the human side” of Einstein: his curiosity and wonder at the universe, the violin playing, the amusing tiffs with his wife, his sense of justice, his dislike of convention, his humorous side, and more. Presented with warmth by Dukas, who cared deeply about him. The presentation lasts approximately 35 minutes.

*In-person only*
 
 

We Were There, Too: Nurses in the Civil War
Reenactor: Candace Ridington
Candace Ridington portrays a nurse reminiscing about her time of service in Washington, D.C., during the Civil War when the nursing profession struggled to create itself. This reenactment portrays the nurse profession’s early challenges, its rewards and sadness, and a glimpse of other nurses whose names are known to us through their journals. Suitable for adults and young adults. 45-50 minutes.

 

*In-person only*

 

 

The Underground Railroad Movement: Riding the Freedom Train
Reenactor: Candace Ridington
Learn about the Underground Railroad Movement by seeing short dramatic portraits of those involved (and some opposed), both anonymous and known. The presentation shows the work by blacks and white alike to aid and save enslaved people. Candace Ridington portrays all of the characters using a mix of props and clothing alterations. Some narration fills in the material and moves events relentlessly to Civil War. This program lasts about 45 to 50 minutes, is suitable for adults and young adults, and could be used in classrooms.

 

*In-person only*

 

 

The Little Woman Who Grew Up: A Visit with Louisa May Alcott
Reenactor: Candace Ridington
Using her own script, Candace Ridington portrays Louisa May Alcott, daughter of the controversial Bronson Alcott and author of Little Women and Hospital Sketches, abolitionist, and nurse in Washington D.C. during the Civil War. Learn about the challenges and rewards of Alcott’s life, including her family’s struggle to live at Fruitlands, a Utopian Society her father attempted to create, and her harrowing stint at the Union Hotel Hospital in Georgetown shortly after the battle of Antietam. The program lasts about 45 minutes.

 

 *In-person only*

 

 

Developing a Persona and Historical Character for Your Site or Museum
Speaker: Several Speakers Bureau Reenactors/Speakers
Explore the process and fun of creating and developing an accurate and interesting persona for an historical character. Explore choosing a character, how to research the character’s life and times, and the necessity of keeping the interpretation fresh and interesting.

 

 

*In-person only*

 

In Search of Ghosts, Montgomery County, Maryland

Speakers: Karen Yaffe Lottes and Dorothy Pugh

This story-telling lecture explores haunted places of Montgomery County and its surrounding area through ghostly tales. Learn about the many ghosts, apparitions, and supernatural occurrences that can’t be explained logically, including: The Headless Horseman that continues to terrorize visitors to the old railroad bridge; the poltergeist that haunts the Madison House; the Tommyknocker at the Maryland Mine; and the farmer who keeps searching for his buried treasure. Take this haunted journey back in time!


Temporarily Unavailable: 

Clara Barton’s Washington 
Speaker: Susan Rosenvold

Join Speaker Susan Rosenvold and discover Washington D.C. through the eyes of one of its residents – Clara Barton.  Barton lived in Washington several times, first, to become an independent woman, second, as a humanitarian and later as a lobbyist attempting to found the American Red Cross.  Discover what Washington was like, who Clara rubbed elbows with, and her success as a humanitarian. PowerPoint presentation/guided tour/portrayal.

 

 

 

 

 

  A 19th Century Reminiscence with Mrs. Elizabeth Magruder of Brookeville and Dr. Edward Stonestreet of Rockville

Reenactors: Jan McKee & Clarence Hickey

Jan and Clarence, in 19th century period attire, portray real historic people, Mrs. Elizabeth Magruder of Brookeville and Dr. Edward Stonestreet of Rockville. Sit in (or listen in) on a late 19th century encounter and conversation between Elizabeth and Edward. They knew each other through Elizabeth’s husband, Dr. William Magruder of Brookeville, with whom young Edward served as a medical apprentice on the doctor’s Oakley Farm during the latter 1840s. Elizabeth and Edward reminisce about their lives in the latter 1800s, talking about Dr. Magruder, medical training of that era, and his wide ranging practice. Elizabeth explains her husband’s strong views on good citizenship, and opening their home to traveling ministers who boarded with them and brought news from far and wide. Elizabeth expounds on home remedies and herbal medicines, while recalling farming and a farming life. Elizabeth talks about the Oakley farmhands, who were at first enslaved, but later were hired free men. Edward describes the Montgomery County he served from 1852 to 1903, its population, the poor state of the roads, the arrival of the B&O Railroad in the 1870s, making house calls during all seasons and at all hours of the day and night, and serving as the County’s first Public Health Officer.

 

The Country Doctor in the 1800s: The Life & Times of Dr. Edward Stonestreet of Rockville
Reenactor: Clarence Hickey
This first person portrayal reflects the life and historic times of Dr. Stonestreet when he practiced medicine in Montgomery County from 1852-1903. It is based on the speaker’s 2009 book Send for the Doctor, which chronicles Dr. Stonestreet’s: medical education; 51-year medical practice of house calls and office visits as local physician and surgeon; responding to accidents and injuries; a brief look at the doctor’s service as Civil War surgeon with the Union Army; and the historic times during which he lived and practiced. This presentation also is available as a PowerPoint slide show. A field trip option can be included to visit the Stonestreet Museum of 19th Century Medicine in Rockville, Maryland. Book sales and signings can be included, with all of the sales proceeds going to Montgomery History.