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Telling History A Manual for Performers and Presenters of First-Person Narratives
978-0-7591-1306-0 • Hardback
October 2009 • $75.00 • (£44.95)
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978-0-7591-1307-7 • Paperback
October 2009 • $29.95 • (£18.95)
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978-0-7591-1308-4 • eBook
October 2009 • $28.99 • (£17.95)

eBooks have to be checked out individually and cannot be combined with print books.
Pages: 248
Size: 6 1/2 x 9 1/2
By Joyce M. Thierer
Series: American Association for State and Local History
History | Study & Teaching
AltaMira Press | AASLH
Telling History is a manual for creating well-researched and engaging historical presentations. As museums and other informal learning institutions work to create new and appealing programs, many are turning to dramatic impersonations accompanied by informed discussions to educate their audiences. This book guides the performer through selecting characters, researching and writing scripts, performing for various kinds of audiences, and turning performance into a business. For museums, historic sites, and community organizations, it offers advice on training and funding historical performers, as well as what to expect from professionals who perform at your site.
Joyce M. Thierer is a founding partner of Ride into History, a historical performance touring troupe, and professor of history at Emporia State University.
Chapter 1 Introduction: Read Before Dissembling
Chapter 2 Chapter One: The Significance of Historical Performance
Chapter 3 Chapter Two: How to Choose a Historic Figure to Portray
Chapter 4 Chapter Three: Researching for a First Person Narrative
Chapter 5 Chapter Four: Creating Your Script
Chapter 6 Chapter Five: Telling History
Chapter 7 Chapter Six: The Business of Doing Freelance Historical Performance
Chapter 8 Chapter Seven: Enhancing Museums and Historic Sites with Historical Performance
Chapter 9 Chapter Eight: Dreams and Plans
Chapter 10 Appendices
Whether you plan to use first-person narratives as a museum docent or are starting your own historical performance business, you will find this how-to book invaluable. Step by step, the author provides information that will lead the novice interpreter to higher levels of competency. Through the use of personal anecdotes, Thierer shares the pitfalls and triumphs of becoming an historical interpreter. Any reader who takes Thierer's advice will be well on his or her way to being not only an historically accurate presenter, but also an entertaining performer.
Marcia Fox, Kansas Historical Society

For almost forty years, costumed interpretation has been a mainstay of museum events and public programming. Now it is time to assess the practice in light of what contemporary audiences need. Resources, time, and short attention spans demand interpreters who are engaging, accurate, colorful, and relevant. Telling History is an invaluable guide to the various types of interpretation that use historical performance. The author's years of work in the field bring a real-world, 'from the trenches' perspective, complete with engaging anecdotes.
Jay M. Price, Wichita State University

Telling History is an excellent handbook for those interested in pursuing historical performances as a method to introduce state and local history to a new generation of audiences.

Texas Oral History Association