Living History Programs

Karen loves using Living History to teach about the past in impactful, insightful and entertaining ways. She feels especially rewarded telling the tales of those whose voices are usually silent in history – – – women.

Scroll down to learn about her “First Person” programs where she portrays women from the past and her “Show and Tell” programs where she brings historic tools and treasures galore and blends them with stories and songs of the times.  For information about “Sing Along” programs with songs and historic tidbits through the years, see her Storytelling page.

All of her presentations are made dressed in the proper clothing of the times, and are impeccably researched.

First Person Programs

Katie Luther: Morning Star of Wittenberg

With days filled with tasks such as tending to a farm, a family, a huge house full of borders, a brewery, and Martin, her very-well known husband, Katharina von Bora Luther needed to get up before the sun.  Meet “the morning star of Wittenberg” as she takes a short breath, and tells her fascinating tale filled with intrigue, adventure and family at the birth of the Reformation..

Remember the Ladies: Revolutionary Points of View

The American Colonists in 1776 were deeply divided: many were in favor of rebellion, many wanted to stay part of England and many just wanted to be left alone. Karen brings this pivotal era for our nation to life as she portrays Patriot Susannah Foote of Boston and Loyalist Eliza Fowler of New York. Their contrasting points of view shine a light on the past that can help us see our modern times more clearly.

Tales From the Time of Lewis and Clark

While Lewis and Clark were exploring, day-to-day life went on for the rest of the country. Imagine the excitement when the Corps of Discovery returned safely to Saint Louis in September of 1806. Join Karen as she brings this momentous time to life. Clad in the clothing of the era, she portrays Mrs. Calvin Adams, wife of a Saint Louis tavern keeper, who is eager to share the latest stories and gossip heard around town.

Lady at the Crossroads: Narcissa Whitman

Our nation’s history is the story of diverse cultures meeting and interacting in ways both peaceful and hostile. As a missionary to the Cayuse in what is now Eastern Washington, Narcissa Whitman was at the center of one such cultural intersection. Using the text of many of Narcissa’s letters as well as portions of her beloved hymns, Karen portrays Mrs. Whitman as she shares her challenges, joys, and sorrows.

Sisters in Time

The summer of 1855 was a time of change in the Puget Sound as more and more people of diverse ethnic groups settled the land. Karen brings these times to life with “Sisters in Time.” Wearing a work dress of the era, Karen portrays four very different women of that summer as she sings their songs and tells their stories.

Tales and Tunes of the Trail

 Evening camp fires along the Oregon Trail were a time for music and stories. Enjoy a taste of these times as Karen portrays emigrant Nettie MacDonald who is eager to share stories and songs of fellow emigrants and the people she’s met along the way, and, of course, the latest gossip.

I Am Always on the Women’s Side – Vignettes of the Civil War

Though women’s voices are often lost amid the din of the battlefield, their stories are an integral part of our nation’s history. Karen has researched numerous diaries, letters, and songs written by women to create a program portraying women from differing walks of life and points of view. These vignettes bring a frequently neglected side of the Civil War to life: women striving to survive in a time of violence, turmoil, and societal change.
Watch the Video Here

Pioneer Memories, Future Dreams: Eliza Jane Meeker

Those who have studied Washington State History have likely heard of Ezra Meeker, First Mayor of Puyallup and Oregon Trail preservationist. Fewer have heard of his wife, Eliza Jane. She traveled the Oregon Trail, was an advocate of women’s suffrage, founder of Puyallup’s first library, and instrumental in the family’s business enterprises. Mrs. Meeker truly was the power behind the Hop King’s throne. Delve into the life and time of the Meekers as Karen portrays this fascinating woman who contributed so much to our region’s history.

The Art & Adventures of Abby Williams Hill

Abby Williams Hill left behind the confined life of an 1890s woman to embrace the wildernesses. Her paintings commissioned by the Great Northern and Northern Pacific Railroads capture the glories of natural wonders including those in Yellowstone, Mount Rainier, and Northern Cascades National Parks. She worked to fight ignorance and improve the lives of children with the Congress of Mothers, the precursor of the PTA. Karen portrays this vibrant woman who was ahead of her time and has much to teach us today.
Watch the Video Here

The Saga of Thea Foss

Born in Norway, Thea Foss and her husband Andrew arrived in Tacoma in 1889. Starting with a used rowboat, they built a maritime empire. Karen portrays Thea in 1912, the year of the first Foss tugboat. She reflects back on her life and looks forward to the future. At a time when few women could, Thea Foss took her place in a “man’s world,” always believing, “we are members of a great body… we were born for the good of the whole.”   Like other immigrants, she added her experience to the rich blend that is Washington.

Show and Tell Programs

Back to the Fur Trade

The cast of characters in the fur trade of the Pacific Northwest in the 1800s was a fascinating diverse blend of Europeans, Native Americans, Hawaiians, and American settlers. Meet these people who created the region’s first “shopping malls” as Karen takes you “Back to the Fur Trade.”  Dressed as a Hudson’s Bay Company laborer, she tells the tales, sings the songs, and shows a trunk full of tools and treasures from a time that brought great change to our land and culture.

Wagons West!

Imagine taking a six month trip with your family in a wagon the size of a small car. That’s what it was like to travel the Oregon Trail! Join a wagon train through time as you see tools and treasures from the past mixed with stories and songs of the immigrants in a program guaranteed to get us to our Manifest Destiny.