Alive! provides a unique passport to the past. The program brings historical
characters to life through portrayals by presenters who have conducted
scholarly research on their character. Presenters are available to nonprofit
organizations across West Virginia, including libraries, schools, museums,
historical societies, and civic groups.
History Alive! allows
audiences to explore history through interaction with historical figures.
These presentations are not one-person plays. They are intended to engage
audiences in a dialogue with the character.
History Alive! presenters
have conducted thorough research into the characters they portray. They
have gained insight into their character after studying primary sources
such as autobiographies, journals, letters, speeches and other personal
papers. Their presentation is based on scholarship and analysis rather
than a script.
Each History Alive! presentation has three parts:
Characters introduce the historical, social, and political issues that
influenced their lives. (15 - 25 minutes)
with the Character: Characters initiate a discussion with the audience,
allowing an opportunity for questions and discussion. (10 - 15 minutes)
with the Presenter: Presenters “break character” to answer
questions and continue the discussion as researchers rather than as
the historical character. (5 - 10 minutes)
How to Host a Presentation
• Hosts contact presenters directly and determine a program date
well in advance.
• Presenters submit booking forms to the Council for approval.
• The Council sends host organizations promotional information
to use in publicizing the program.
• Host organizations pay presenters’ travel expenses, if
• The Council pays presenters their presentation fee directly.
• Hosts submit the program evaluation to the Council.
The West Virginia Humanities Council provides this program to interested
nonprofit groups in West Virginia free of charge. Presenter fees are
paid directly by the Council. We do ask that, if possible, the host
pay for travel and lodging when needed.
Groups are eligible
to host a maximum of two Council-funded History Alive! programs between
November 1 and October 31. Additional presentations may be arranged
with presenters for programs without Council funding.
If you want to host
a presentation, contact the presenter directly. Click on the character
name at the bottom of this page for a biographical sketch, photograph,
and presenter contact information. When you contact the presenter he
or she will submit your request to the Council. You will receive promotional
materials from the Council to publicize the program. Council also requests
that each host group complete and return a one-page program evaluation
form after the presentation.
History Alive! presentations
must be free and open to the public and publicized as such. Schools
are encouraged to open presentations to the public according to their
A History Alive! presentation is NOT a play. The audience is expected
to enter into discussion with the character.
Be sure to contact presenters well in advance. Funds are limited and
presenters must submit booking forms to the Council office no later
than the 20th of the month BEFORE the month of your presentation.
These programs are not intended for “walk-by” audiences.
They should be presented in a quiet space where other activities will
not distract the audience or presenter.
Take time to prepare
your audience for the presentation. Meet with the presenter before the
program to determine an appropriate introduction. It is your responsibility
to establish the context of the presentation for your audience.
Communicate with presenters and inform them of the audience size, schedule
changes, directions, and other important information.
Make sure that the program is on your school or organization calendar
to avoid schedule mix-ups. When you arrange to host a presentation you
are making a commitment to the presenter and the Council. If you need
to cancel or reschedule, you must give notice to the presenter well
The West Virginia Humanities Council must be recognized as the sponsor
of the event in any publicity for the presentation. Publicity materials
are provided by email.
School presentations are intended for classroom-size audiences rather
than large assembly-style audiences. Large audiences of multiple grade
levels can reduce the effectiveness of the presentation and question/answer
You cannot apply
for a Humanities Council grant to present a History Alive! character.
The 2013 History Alive! program is sponsored in part by Brickstreet Insurance.
Click on a character name for a description, photograph and contact