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Travelling Speakers

The staff of the Farmers Branch Historical Park has a variety of interests and passions that we’d be happy to share with you and your group. If you would like a staff member to come speak to your group, please contact us at 972.406.0184 or . We do not accept payment or charge a fee for talks or discussions, although an honorarium may be paid to the Friends of the Historical Park if you prefer. Some more hands-on workshops may require the participants to pay the cost of materials.

Topics available include:

Beginners Workshop in Photography – During the course of this workshop, Derrick Birdsall will instruct students on the ways to become more confident, competent photographers. Drawing on years of photographic experience, the workshop will be a fun start for those interested in taking better photos. Workshop can also be taught at a more advanced level. (Derrick Birdsall, Superintendent)

Caring for a Collection on a Small Budget, Little Time and Limited Staffing – The presentation can range from 30 minutes to a full-day workshop depending on the needs of the group. Topics covered include proper handling of objects, storage techniques and materials, photo documentation, and proper housecleaning guidelines. The discussion is geared towards small museums or historical societies interested in a more in-depth discussion of best practices in the museum world and where to find the right information. (Jamie Rigsby, Curator)

Example of handmade cockade

Creating Cockades – A presentation and workshop on cockades, a type of historic jewelry and political statement that originated in the 1600's but can still be found on the runways of today. For the cost of materials, participants can create their own cockade from start to finish.  (Danielle Brissette, Museum Educator)

Dressing the Historical Lady: Fashion and Clothing in the Victorian Era – A fun, informative presentation about clothing and fashion from years past. To highlight the way in which all layers and types of clothing interact with each other, your speaker will literally dress head to toe in the fashion of the Victorian era, explaining each garment in turn. Corsets, petticoats, bustles and more will all be part of the presentation. This presentation is currently only available to all female groups. (Danielle Brissette, Museum Educator)

Dueling: Pistols for Two, Coffee for One – A fun, exciting presentation about the history of dueling in the United States. Whether with pistols or sabers, this presentation takes conflict resolution to the next level. (Derrick Birdsall, Superintendent)

Derrick Birdsall delivering a presentation on dueling and black powder guns.

Farmers Branch History – A presentation about the history and past of Farmers Branch and the surrounding areas, featuring images and objects from the Historical Park’s collections. (Historical Park Staff)

Hairstyles and How to Achieve Them – An hour long presentation on the changing nature of hairstyles and accessories during the 19th and early 20th centuries including tips for styling your own hair with a historic flair. With advance notice, this presentation can concentrate on any era of time you desire. (Danielle Brissette, Museum Educator)

How to Care for Your Art and Antiques – A 30-minute PowerPoint presentation on handling, displaying, and storing art and antiques in the home. Topics covered include best practices for hanging art, storing photographs, cleaning your collectibles and when/how to seek the advice of a professional. Great for antiques groups, collectors, or anyone interested in taking better care of their personal belongings. The presentation includes numerous instructional handouts and a question and answer forum. Please allow at least 15 minutes discussion following the program. (Jamie Rigsby, Museum Curator)

Derrick Birdsall speaking for the Peters Colony Historical Society.

Log Cabin Living – Have you ever wondered what it was like to live in a log cabin? During this discussion you’ll have a chance to ask your questions to someone who actually has spent ten days sleeping, eating, and living in one of the Historical Park’s log homes. (Derrick Birdsall, Superintendent)

Military History – A presentation designed to cater to the interests and desires of your group, this discussion can focus on virtually any conflict in which Texas or the United States participated. (Derrick Birdsall, Superintendent)

The Art of Tea – This is a fun discussion which teaches about the traditions, etiquette and social interactions of formal teas and tea parties.  We will look at how "having" tea has changed through the decades. (Kim Jolly-Chapman, Historical Park Administration)  

Texas History – Another presentation which can focus on your group’s interests, Historical Park staff can discuss many aspects of Texas History including military history, the Texas Revolution, the Texas Republic, statehood, slavery in Texas, fashion in Texas, and more. (Derrick Birdsall, Superintendent, or Danielle Brissette, Museum Educator)

Using Your Local Museum as an Educational Tool – A presentation on ways to incorporate your local museum and cultural resources into your curriculum, classroom, or field trips. (Danielle Brissette, Museum Educator)

U.S. History – This presentation can be tailored to suit the needs and interests of your group or event. One of the Historical Park’s own staff will come to speak to you about almost any aspect of United States History. (Historical Park Staff)

Working on a Reproduction of Paolo Veronese's "The Wedding Feast at Cana" – A 45-minute presentation on one person's experience of the painting that Veronese painted and Napoleon stole. Hear about the history of the painting, the religious symbolism used by the painter, and how the painting (more or less) went home to Venice. Other topics of discussion will include the logistics and installation of the project, reproductions vs. forgeries, and the current role of reproductions and technology in the art world. Suitable for groups interested in European Art, religious symbolism, and technology. (Jamie Rigsby, Curator)

Working Together:  Creating Impact in the Community – This presentation is an exploration of the Historical Park and its workings with individuals, groups and businesses to establish a greater impact in the community. It will highlight the relationship between Dolly Graul, Mary's Garden and Girl Scout Troop # 7258 as they work together to create a beautiful space loved by all. (Kim Jolly-Chapman, Historical Park Administration)

If you would like a presentation on a topic not listed above, please contact the Historical Park with your topic and ideas at
 or call 972.406.0184.