Indianapolis—In 2011, the Indiana Historical Society and Storytelling Arts of Indiana will help fund performances by storyteller Kevin Stonerock in select Hoosier communities with the Sharing Hoosier History Through Stories project. Since 1999, this collaboration has commissioned an Indiana storyteller to research, develop, and perform a historical Indiana story related to holdings found in the IHS library collection.
The IHS and Storytelling Arts of Indiana recognize that the medium of storytelling engages Hoosiers in a way that textbooks and many history classes cannot. To reach as wide an audience as possible with the latest Sharing Hoosier History Through Stories creations, the IHS and Storytelling Arts make funds available each year to as many as four non-profit institutions in an effort to off-set the costs of inviting a storyteller into their communities. The IHS and Storytelling Arts pay half the presenter fee ($250) and assist in the marketing of these programs, while the hosting institution pays the other half plus mileage expenses.
Funding opportunities are still available for the new story “Steamboat Tales: Life Along the Ohio River,” which debuted at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center on Jan. 30, 2011. With 30 years experience as a performing songwriter and actor, Stonerock’s quick wit and affable, down-to-earth style connects with his audience and puts them at ease as if they were carrying on a conversation with an old friend on the front porch.
This year marks the bicentennial of the New Orleans, the first steamboat to successfully voyage down the Ohio River. The success of the New Orleans and subsequent steam-powered vessels altered American life forever by hastening the opening of the American West. To commemorate this event, IHS and Storytelling Arts of Indiana commissioned storyteller and musician Kevin Stonerock to mine the IHS collections and other materials to develop a story about the steamboat’s legacy along the Ohio River. Steamboat Tales uses music and history as well as flights of fancy to transport audiences back to an era when boat captains, showboat barkers and others enlivened the river banks of southern Indiana.
In this rollicking, first-person storytelling, musical look at life along the Ohio River, audiences will meet a cast of characters who will spin tales, sing songs, and otherwise entertain and educate on the history of steamboats and river life along the Ohio River during the 1800s. From Nicholas Roosevelt’s historic journey on the New Orleans to fictional character Charlie Ledbetter’s wide-eyed impressions of the grand 1890s steamer J.M. White, audiences will be engaged in the history and lore of the steamboat and Ohio River. Rounding out the program are original songs performed by Stonerock that also help illustrate the history and legacy of the Ohio River.
Sharing Hoosier History Through Stories is co-sponsored by the Indiana Historical Society and Storytelling Arts of Indiana, Inc. For more information on this program or how to bring this story to your community in 2011, contact Erin Kelley at (317) 234-3161 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Ellen Munds at (317) 576-9848 or email@example.com
Since 1830, the Indiana Historical Society has been Indiana’s Storyteller, connecting people to the past by collecting, preserving, interpreting and sharing the state’s history. A private, nonprofit membership organization, IHS maintains the nation’s premier research library and archives on the history of Indiana and the Old Northwest and presents a unique set of visitor exhibitions called the Indiana Experience. IHS also provides support and assistance to local museums and historical groups, publishes books and periodicals; sponsors teacher workshops; and provides youth, adult and family programming. The Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, home of the IHS and the Indiana Experience, is located at 450 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis.