Programs are flexible
and can be tailored to your needs. I can speak as a modern day researcher or
costumed as Laura Ingalls Wilder herself as a young 1890s version or as an
older 1930s version (depending on the program).
For programs labeled as PowerPoint Presentation, the hosting site must provide
an indoor location with electricity and a wall or screen to project against. If
you don’t have a projection system, I can also bring my own laptop and
projector to run the program.
For programs labeled
Interactive, while ALL my programs are interactive including those that use
PowerPoint, the ones marked as Interactive use interaction with objects as the
main form of sharing information.
General Laura Program
This basic Laura Ingalls Wilder program gives a general
overview of Wilder’s life. It features photos taken at all of the Laura Ingalls
Wilder homesites and museums. It is a good choice for any age group. This
program offers the most information about Wilder’s life. As it is a favorite,
it is constantly being updated with new photos and facts. It can be presented several
different ways. I can present it either as myself or as an older version of
Laura. Presenting as myself allows me to add insider stories. If you’d like
this program presented as Laura, I present it as an older Laura in 1931 when
after receiving a second batch of rejections for her book she’s asked to
rewrite what will ultimately become Little House in the Big Woods yet
again. She tells the story of her life to her neighbors to see if they think
the story is worth her rewriting her book one more time.
Packing Up (Available
With or Without PowerPoint Presentation)
This twist on Wilder's life has us looking in on Wilder as
she is packing up to move to Mansfield, Missouri. Wilder has moved around a lot
in life and collected a lot of experiences. As she is getting ready to leave De
Smet, South Dakota for the last time, she is going through an old trunk to see
if there is anything that can be left behind. Each artifact (Tin Punch Lantern,
Rag doll, etc.) in the old trunk holds a story, one story for each of the places
that Wilder lived. These stories are bridged with information about Laura's
life. Young Laura of 1894 must present this program. However, it can be
presented either with or without PowerPoint. The photos add to it, but it is a
good choice for if you need a program to be presented outside or anyplace where
projection won't work well. The storytelling aspect makes it a great choice for
younger audiences, but is still appropriate for any age.
In the Kitchen With
Laura (An Interactive Presentation)
year I introduce a new program, a new way to tell the life story of Laura
Ingalls Wilder. I’m especially pleased with this year’s program that has a
completely different take. It mixes stories and information about Laura Ingalls
Wilder’s life with food history and hands on cooking. It’s the 1930s and we
find ourselves in Laura’s kitchen as she’s dealing with all the food coming in
from a bountiful summer garden.
the program I bring volunteers on stage to do things like:
Mix up a batch of biscuits
Make ginger water
And more (some seasonal
considerations will determine other activities)
everybody can try some of the ginger water. It’s been a big hit.
program is all interactive, no PowerPoint, and all you have to supply is a
table and quart of water.
Laura Ingalls Wilder:
What a DOLL!(PowerPoint Presentation)
Dolls played a small part in Wilder’s books, but play an
important role in the fandom that has grown up around them. Once we review the
basic information about Laura Ingalls Wilder's life, we examine through photos
the history of the different dolls created in the likeness of Laura Ingalls
Wilder or created as souvenirs for her fans. Which dolls do you need for your
collection? Among the dolls pictured will be a collection of Charlotte Replicas
from 1966 to 2012, the handmade Walnut Grove dolls made by one woman from 1975
to 2007, the Ashton Drake collectible dolls, the famous character dolls Laura
describes in the only known recording of her voice, and even a set of life size
dolls that used to grace the parlor of the Masters Hotel in Burr Oak, Iowa. I appear
in a costume matching the only Laura doll so far created as "old"
Laura and I bring that doll along.
Laura’s Life in
Mansfield (PowerPoint Presentation)
This in-depth program answers the question "What
happened next?" and picks up Laura's story after her books leave her and Almanzo
(Manly) happily married in De Smet, South Dakota. It will briefly address how
they ended up in Mansfield, Missouri. Then it examines Wilder's roles as
farmwife, businesswoman, beginning writer, and famous author. It assumes the
audience will have a little background information on Laura's early years before
the program since it focuses on Laura's later life.
Following in Laura’s
Footsteps (PowerPoint Presentation)
Thinking about taking a Laura Ingalls Wilder trip? Want the
inside scoop? Having visited the Wilder sites multiple times, in this program I
give you the inside information about what there is to see at the main Wilder
sites and the best way to see it. I help you prep for the trip and give
you a series of questions to help you decide what type of Laura trip would work
best for you. I also answer specific questions, like where should you stay and
where you can eat. Included is a handout with more information.
A Visit With Laura
(Interactive, No PowerPoint)
Have an interactive visit with Laura using questions culled
from actual letters written to her. Before the program starts questions are
distributed to audience members who, after a brief opening statement from
“Laura,” ask her questions. Time is allotted for actual audience questions at
the end of the program.
What’s My Story?
Who doesn’t like a good story? This session shares some
stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life and other historic stories poems, and
riddles. The program set up requires a table up front that is set with a
variety of objects (bird’s nest, stuffed badger, color changing bear, etc.).
Each object has a story, poem, or riddle attached. Audience members are invited to pick an object
from the table and hear its story. Depending on the size and the layout of the
audience there are lots of opportunities for everyone to take part. This
program appeals to all ages.
Stories from Pa's Big
Green Animal Book (Storytelling)
Similar in format to the “What’s My Story” session (table,
objects, etc.), this specialized storytelling session focuses on historic animal
stories. These stories come from Laura’s life and other historic animal tales.
Also, a copy of Polar and Tropical Worlds
(Pa’s Big Green AnimalBook as identified by William T.
Anderson) will be brought along for everyone to see.
Perfect: Lessons from Laura Ingalls Wilder(PowerPoint Presentation)
Everyone thinks of Laura Ingalls Wilder as someone who sat
down late in life with no previous writing experience and wrote nearly perfect
books that didn't need much editing. The truth was more complicated, learning
to write was a long process for Wilder and rejections and changes in her books
almost meant they weren't published.
Explore her writing from a school girl on and how she came to write and
her daughter Rose Wilder Lane came to edit the “Little House” books. Delve into
Wilder's writing process.
Around the Next Bend in the Road:
The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder (PowerPoint
Join Laura Ingalls Wilder in 1894 right before she arrives
in Mansfield as she sits behind her writing desk. She is thinking back over her
life and composing the very first article she ever wrote. This program includes
images of the documents that help tell the story of Laura’s life that anyone
interested in the real story will enjoy.
Inside the Covers
This in-depth program looks at Laura Ingalls Wilder's books
as objects. I examine how decisions about design, illustration, and production
have affected how we see Wilder's work. I examine the various editions and
translations of the “Little House” books, track changes over time and explain
why those changes were made.
Laura Ingalls Wilder Thanksgiving
If you say Laura Ingalls Wilder, Thanksgiving probably
isn’t the first thing that springs to mind, but you’ll find lots of references
to it in her writing. That’s entirely proper because as much as we tend to
think of Thanksgiving in connection with the Pilgrims in 1621, a lot more of
the story, lore, and traditions of Thanksgiving actually come to us from the
19th century and the Victorians and the pioneers.
Want to learn more? Do I have a deal for you! Choose from two Laura Ingalls
Wilder based Thanksgiving programs, each with a different twist.
Ingalls Wilder Thanksgiving Interactive (This is an experience based program
and doesn’t involve PowerPoint.)
This program is more
aimed at children or family groups. In addition to some old fashioned story
telling we’ll learn about some of the myths and stories of Thanksgiving, taste
parched corn that the Ingalls used as a holiday tradition to remind them of the
Pilgrims and get the real story behind it, and do an original Thanksgiving
craft based on a 19th century homemaking trick that ma used to make each little
house Pa built into a home.
Thanksgiving: From Pilgrim to
The second version is
aimed at adults. Originally presented at the national Association of Living
History Farms and Museums conference to a great response, Thanksgiving:
From Pilgrim to Pioneer looks at some examples of how Thanksgiving was
celebrated over the years. The Ingalls family serves as guides but included is
information from many other sources as well. It traces back traditions to where
they belong (mostly to the Victorians) and talks about why we associate
Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims instead.
A Laura Ingalls Wilder
Christmas (PowerPoint Presentation)
Explore the connections between Laura Ingalls Wilder and
Christmas. An older Laura shares Christmas memories and news the year her
daughter published a magazine article celebrating an old-fashioned Christmas.
See the Wilder homesites decked out for Christmas, items that were
originally given to and by Laura as
Christmas gifts, and learn about how Christmas was celebrated in the late 19th
and first part of the 20th century. View a shortened version of this program on
the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum YouTube Channel. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eGGNtNs0Vc
on other topics include:
A Day in a One-Room School
One-room schools were once the main form of education in
the United States and this program helps you learn more about what it was like
to attend one. After an introduction to one-room school basics, be invited in
to one school as students take you through a typical day in a one-room school
in the Midwest around 1900. Learn what happened to one-room schools after that
and the roles one-room schools play in American culture today. Whether you are
ready to share one-room school memories or just want to learn more, this is a
great presentation for you.
What’s For Lunch?:
Lunch in One-Room Schools (PowerPoint Presentation)
The image is a common
one, students trudging along a road to a distant one-room school house,
clutching their school books and lunchboxes. What do you think is hidden in
those lunchboxes? My mission is to find out. My research has covered reports in
both teacher magazines and in parent/women’s magazines, teacher instruction
manuals, and extension leaflets. In addition, I’ve been distributing a survey.
The difference between what was called for in magazines and what people
actually took was interesting. I’ve been researching this for a number of
years, but it is still an active research project and I’d call this an early
report mostly based on the survey, but with some information from the sources
that I’ve gathered.
This presentation looks at the development and current status of
one-room school museums. Included will be time to look over available resources
for one-room school use.
Introduction to Living History in
You might have heard something about living history or reenacting.
What is it all about? How can it be used in a classroom setting? This program
will give you an overview complete with a variety of ways it can be used in a
classroom. Electric Salad Bowls in Your
Museum (PowerPoint Presentation)
You might not think you have electric salad bowls in your
local museum, but you might be surprised. This session has been presented at
several conferences and a version appeared in the scholarly journal Thresholds
from the University of Northern Illinois. Now bring this hour long training program
to your museum to help volunteers, staff, and board members take a new look at
what they’ve been doing or to give your visitors a chance to really think about
a museum and what goes into it.
Iowa Agriculture: Yesterday,
Today, and Tomorrow (PowerPoint Presentation)
A look both backwards and forwards at the culture of
Agriculture as it has been practiced in Iowa. We look at the practices, crops,
and tools of the agricultural trade and how it affected people’s lives. In its
original form, this program won a gold seal of excellence at the Iowa State
Through a Child's Eyes: A Day in
a Child's Life in 1900 (PowerPoint Presentation)
This program takes you through a day in life of a child from
the turn of the 19th to the 20th century. From throwing
back the covers on a rope bed when the rooster crows to taking a candle back up
the stairs again at night, get a behind the scenes look at what it was like to
be a child on a farm around 1900?