Hold your mouse over an image to see a larger version.
Dan McCain discusses the inception of the Wabash & Erie Canal Interpretive Center in Delphi, Indiana.
Audience for Dan McCain.
Dr. James Madison discussing how American leadership exhibited democracy and leadership during the Second World War.
Audience for Dr. James Madison.
Joan Flinspach explains how Lincoln used democracy and leadership during his administration.
Audience for Joan Flinspach.
Sharon Zonker discusses the Gullah culture and the symbols often used in Gullah quilts.
Sharon Zonker displays a quilt.
Sharing Our Stories: Marion and Beyond
Marion Public Library, Marion, IN
Project Director: Sue Bratton
Target Audience: Adult, Teen
Library Size: Fewer than 25,000
“This lecture series was important to this community on several levels: access to nationally recognized experts such as these scholars gives value to the community; many people in Marion are interested in history and want to know how historical events relate to this community; the people of Marion need to be proud of their history and community.”
In “Sharing our Stories: Marion and Beyond,” the Marion Public Library (MPL) hosted a lecture series for teens and young adults featuring scholars with expertise in subjects relating to the Picturing America themes. The lecture topics included: Lincoln’s leadership during the Civil War, the stories stitched into Gullah slave quilts, the development of the Wabash & Erie Canal, and American leadership during World War II.
Use of the Artwork
The Picturing America images and commentary were prominently displayed throughout the library and attached historical museum during the lecture series, and images illustrating each speaker’s theme (Democracy, Freedom and Equality, Creativity and Ingenuity, Leadership and Courage) were featured for that presentation.
Programs and Ideas
Each of the four lectures was presented by a different scholar:
Seminar by Dr. James Madison: Democracy & Leadership in WW II, discussing how American leadership exhibited democracy and leadership during the Second World War. Dr. Madison is a professor of history at Indiana University and speaks frequently about Indiana historical issues. He also conducted considerable research at Marion Public Library while writing his book, A Lynching in the Heartland: Race and Memory in America.
Lecture and discussion by Joan Flinspach: Lincoln’s Use of Democracy & Leadership during the Civil War, which explained how Lincoln used democracy & leadership during his administration. Ms. Flinspach, former CEO of the Lincoln Museum in Fort Wayne, is an expert on Abraham Lincoln. She currently serves on the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, the Indiana Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, and Ford’s Theatre Advisory Board.
Presentation by Dan McCain: Creativity & Ingenuity—The Wabash & Erie Canal, on the inception of the Wabash & Erie Canal Interpretive Center in Delphi, Indiana. The center has been built almost entirely by volunteers, and McCain shared their philosophy on building a solid volunteer base. Mr. McCain retired from the USDA Soil Conservation Service after 34 years of service. Combining his knowledge about national resource issues with his lifelong interest in nineteenth-century transportation, he spearheaded the project to create the Wabash and Erie Canal Interpretive Center in Delphi, Indiana.
Lecture and artifact display by Sharon Zonker: Slave Quilts & the Stories They Tell, where the Gullah culture and the symbols often used in Gullah quilts were discussed. Zonker also displayed quilts and other Gullah artifacts. Ms. Zonker is a retired teacher and a finalist for Indiana Teacher of the Year in 1981. She has done extensive research on the Civil War from a woman’s perspective, and is an expert on quilts from the Civil War era and uses quilts to tell the stories of both African-American and white women.
The Gullah: Rice, Slavery and the Sierra-Leone Connection by Joseph A. Opala (online lecture from Gilder Lehrman Center)
Dr. James Madison, A Lynching in the Heartland: Race and Memory in America (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).
With help from Picturing America and judicious selection of speakers, we were able to take aspects of our country’s history to the public. We learned 1) to know our audience and what topics will appeal to that audience; 2) to not be afraid to approach someone with a national reputation—speakers like to have an audience; 3) there are people in this community who are interested in scholarly topics and will attend such programs. The library will be able to use this series as a starting point for future programs dealing with serious topics.