West Virginia Humanities Council Links of interest staff and board Be a member! Hubbard House Restoration calendar of events People in Mountains publications General Information programs Grants and Fellowships who we are History Alive character Ostenaco.



Photograph of History Alive character Julia Child.







Photograph of Mark Twain.




Photograph of Mary Lincoln.





Photograph of History Alive character Ben Franklin.







Photograph of Eleanor Roosevelt.


History Alive character Martin Delany.







History Alive character Stonewall Jackson in costume.

What is History Alive?

History 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. Programs are available to nonprofit organizations across West Virginia, including libraries, schools, museums, historical societies, and civic groups. Beginning January 2014, History Alive! programs are also available to for-profit organizations and businesses wanting to provide an entertaining and educational component for their events.

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.

The Format

Each History Alive! presentation has three parts:

1. Monologue: Characters introduce the historical, social, and political issues that influenced their lives. (15 - 25 minutes)
2. Discussion with the Character: Characters initiate a discussion with the audience, allowing an opportunity for questions and discussion. (10 - 15 minutes)
3. Discussion 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

tory Alive! programs are available for $125 per presentation to both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, purchase orders, or checks made out to WVHC-History Alive are accepted methods of payment.

  • History Alive! character and contact information is available at the bottom of this page by clicking on the character name.
  • Booking Request Forms are available HERE.
  1. Interested group (non-profit or for-profit) contacts the presenter of the character they would like to host for a program.
  2. Host group and presenter agree on a date and time for the program.
  3. Host group fills out and submits a Booking Request Form along with $125 Booking Fee for each requested program to the Humanities Council.
  4. Accepted methods of payment are: checks made out to WVHC-History Alive, Visa, Discover, or Master Card, or purchase order.
  5. The Booking Request Form must be received by the Humanities Council at least two weeks prior to the date of the program. Earlier application is strongly advised to insure the availability of the desired History Alive! character and to help promote the event.
  6. Humanities Council confirms with the host group and presenter by email that the booking request has been approved and provides publicity material to the host group
  7. If the History Alive! presenter needs overnight lodging the host group is responsible for that cost.
  8. The Humanities Council pays the presenter their presentation fee directly.
  9. Host group submits a program evaluation provided by the Humanities Council.
  10. History Alive! programs should be offered at no cost to the public or event participants.

Have questions? Need help? Contact the Humanities Council program officeror call 304-346-8500 and we will be happy to help you book your program!


Programs will not be approved until a payment method has been confirmed and host groups and presenters have been notified by email.

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 to schedule a program!

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.Talk 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 as soon as possible.

History Alive! presentations must be acknowledged in all publicity as a program of the West Virginia Humanities Council.

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 periods.

You cannot apply for a Humanities Council grant to present a History Alive! character.

Click on a character name below for a description, photograph and contact information.