I’m going to start doing a more in-depth description of one of my programs each month. Check them all out. Which one would you like to see most?
General Laura Program (PowerPoint Presentation)
A Long Way Home: The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder
Although the official name of this program is A Long Way Home, a name I came up with when I started the original version for a 4H project, I often refer to this one as my General Laura Program. It’s one of my top 3 requested programs. It certainly has changed a lot and gone through many different versions since I originally put it together, but it still lays out the overall story of Laura’s life with an insider’s view. This one is admittedly my favorite and so it gets a lot of my best new photos when I come back from a trip.
This basic Laura Ingalls Wilder program offers a general overview of Wilder’s life. All too often when a non-historian is asked a question about history, he smiles, nods, mentions Laura Ingalls Wilder and thinks he knows all there is to know. That’s definitely not true, but it is a good start on life in the nineteenth century. Laura’s history follows the history of the country from pioneer girl to farm wife. Learn a general overview of Wilder’s life with some interesting ways her story fits in with social history and American history along the way. The program features photos taken at all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites and museums. A good choice for any age group, this program offers the most in depth information about Wilder’s life of my programs that survey Laura’s entire life. I can change the level the information is pitched at and I’ve presented it to great applause from early elementary school to adult groups.
It requires the ability to present in PowerPoint which means being inside, with electricity and a place to project. I can bring my own projector along or I can use yours. The program is a live show so length can vary, but it normally takes between 50 and 55 minutes. I prefer to have at least 10-15 minutes for questions afterward, but that is optional and if I need that long depends on whether it’s a talkative group or not.
Alternatives for Presentation
A Long Way Home can be presented several different ways. I can present it either as myself or in character as an older version of Laura. Presenting as myself allows me to add insider stories that Laura either wouldn’t know or probably wouldn’t tell about her family.
Alternatively I can present this in character as an older Laura. The set up I use is we’re back in 1931 and Laura has just gone through her second round of rejections from her attempt to get the story in print as a picture book. Although Laura always wanted to preserve her father’s stories and what pioneer life was like she begins to doubt herself. She decides in 1931 when after receiving a second batch of rejections for her book she’s asked to rewrite what will ultimately become Little House in the Big Woods yet again. She tells the story of her life to her neighbors to see if they think the story is worth her rewriting her book one more time.
If this sounds interesting to you, ask a local museum or library to have me come and present A Long Way Home, the General Laura program.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.