Need a Speaker?

The Region of Waterloo Museums have a variety of presenters who can speak to your community group.  

Presenters and Topics

Carolyn Blackstock, Teacher/Interpreter

Carolyn Blackstock works at Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum as a Historic Teacher Interpreter (Homes and Businesses Specialist) in the 1914 era historic village. She has worked as an educator in Ontario museums and living history sites for over thirty years. While working in historic homes she developed an interest in culinary history and eventually learned to prepare meals using wood fired cook stoves, open hearths and bake ovens. She’s been researching and writing about food history ever since and loves everything about Christmas.  Give us a call at 519-748-1914 or e-mail us at jperham@regionofwaterloo.ca to book.

Knitting for Victory: Handwork in 1914

Knitting for Victory30 - 40 minutes. Audience: adult, history, knitters, crafters

What were women making using their needles and hooks as they knit, crocheted, sewed, quilted, and embroidered before and during World War I? Discuss why knitting was important during the war and what patterns were popular at the turn of the century. Links to sources of historic patterns will also be provided if requested 
A Merry Look at Yuletide Fare
lantern40 minutes. Audience: adult, history, food, Christmas.
Join us for a fun seasonal exploration of the food and drink mentioned in Christmas stories and songs. Journey through the centuries of Christmas celebrations in this edible sing-a-long and appetizing story telling. We’ll even teach you how to make an easy no bake treat to enjoy through the holiday season.
It’s Beginning to Smell A Lot Like Christmas
Pointsettia40 minutes. Audience: adult, history, food, gardening, Christmas.

Discover wonderful plants and foods used to decorate the parlors and dinner tables of Waterloo County homes for Christmas 1914.

Cooking for Christmas 1856 to 1914
christmas table40 minutes. Audience: adult, local history, food, Christmas.
Peek inside the kitchens and ovens of Waterloo County to discover the festive foods served in local homes for Christmas between 1856 and 1914.

Bob Wildfong, Horticultural Specialist

Bob Wildfong is the Horticultural Teacher/Interpreter at the Doon Heritage Village, where he has tended the historic gardens and demonstrated local traditions of food, flowers, and herbs for 33 years. He is also a well-known seed collector, helping museums across Canada to preserve heritage garden plants through Seeds of Diversity Canada. Give us a call at 519-748-1914 or e-mail us at jperham@regionofwaterloo.ca to book.

Garden History and Traditions in 1900-1914

Garden history45 minutes. 

Audience: gardeners, local history, food.
A visual tour through household gardens of the turn of the last century, highlighting the favourite flowers, fruits, and vegetables of the time.

Home Gardens in Waterloo 1895

Home gardens45 minutes.

Audience: local history, gardeners.

Celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Waterloo Horticultural Society, learn how some of the leading figures in Waterloo’s history encouraged citizens to beautify their city.

Old Order Mennonite Gardens

Mennonite Garden45 minutes.

Audience: general, including high school.

To more fully appreciate the heritage of our Old Order Mennonite neighbours, we offer this glimpse into local traditions of their food, flowers, and herbs.

Ontario Garden and Landscape History in 1890-1910

Ontario garden and landscape history45 minutes.

Audience: gardeners, local history.

You can learn a lot about a people by looking at the gardens and landscapes they create. A social history of turn-of-the-century Ontario through photos and records of gardens, farms, and parks of the time.

Cold Frames Past and Present

Cold Frames30 minutes.

Audience: gardeners.

Three-season gardening on a budget has always been in style. Learn how gardeners extended their growing season a hundred years ago, and how you can copy (and maybe improve) their techniques at home.

Pollinator Friendly Gardening

butterfly30-45 minutes as requested.

Audience: gardeners.

Learn how your friendly local pollinators help your plants to grow, and how you can help them in return.

Bee Pollinator Friendly 
bee on flower

15-45 minutes as requested.

Audience: general, adult, high school, middle school.

Science, nature, food, and stories combine to reveal a secret world of helpful insects that we depend upon, but often overlook. Find out who they are, what they do, and how to keep them healthy. 

Historic Tea Time

tea leaves30 minutes.

Audience: general, history, food.

You will never think of the humble tea bag the same way again, after learning about the ancient history and traditions of this most auspicious of beverages. For people of every nation throughout history a thousand flavours of tea – green, black, and herbal – have been a daily ritual.

Stacy McLennan, Collections Curator and Registrar

Stacy McLennan is the Collections Curator & Registrar for the Region of Waterloo Museums, a position she has held for the past 13 years. Prior to employment with the Region, Stacy worked with collections at various heritage institutions across the country. As part of her position, Stacy researches the history and use of the various artifacts in the collection as well as conducting research for in-house exhibits. Give us a call at 519-748-1914 or e-mail us at jperham@regionofwaterloo.ca to book.

She Brews Good Ale – A History of Women in the Brewing Industry

woman holding beer30 to 40 minutes;

General adult audience

From ancient times to today, women have played a vital role in the brewing industry. Learn more about brewsters and why we have women to thank for beer!

History on Tap: Brewing in Waterloo Region

People serving beer30 to 40 minutes;

General adult audience

Huether, Carling, Blue Top, and Brick are just a few of the breweries that have operated in Waterloo Region. Find out more about the history of these breweries and beer itself.

Trailblazing: Women in Canada since 1867

Trailblazing women30 to 40 minutes;

General adult audience

Canadian women have a unique and interesting history within our country. Learn more about trailblazers in specific fields. Hear stories of strength and perseverance. Discover a new role model.

Artifact Trivia

artifact30 to 40 minutes;

General adult audience
Put your thinking caps on! See if you know what these weird and wacky artifacts from our collection are and how they were used. Bragging rights only for the winner.

Kevin Thomas, Supervisor of Historic Sites, Doon Heritage Village

Kevin has worked in the public programming end of museums for 29 years.  During this time, he has helped with the hiring, training, and supervising of staff and developed training material; he has also created various museum and village activities.  In addition to this, he has produced various presentations that he delivers to a wide variety of community groups. Give us a call at 519-748-1914 or e-mail us at jperham@regionofwaterloo.ca to book.

Unmentionables

Woman in corset45 to 50 minutes;

General adult audience

This presentation shows what devices women would wear, in order to achieve the various desired shapes/looks that were popular between the 1850s and now.  These devices include crinolines, bustles, corsets, Spanx, and bullet bras.  It’s amazing what women endured for fashion.

Life in 1914 

car45 to 50 minutes;

General adult audience

Life in 1914 Canada was changing at an astounding rate.  This presentation explores the various attitudes, technologies, past times, events, and issues prominent in the year 1914 – the year depicted at Doon Heritage Village.  It was a time that saw the introduction of electric lights, indoor plumbing, cars, and telephones, but it was also a time of kerosene lamps, outhouses, blacksmiths, and restricted voting.  In many ways, life in 1914 was very much like our own today – ever-changing.

City on Edge

We want you poster45 to 50 minutes;

General adult audience
Prior to World War I, the various ethnic groups that made up Berlin (now known as Kitchener) got along remarkably well.  This all changed, though, when Britain declared war on Germany in August 1914.  This presentation will take you through the ‘dunking of the Kaiser’ incident, the famous Christmas truce, the aggressive recruiting tactics used by the local 118th Battalion, and the questionable process of changing the city’s name from Berlin to Kitchener.

Outhouse, B.O., and Bad Breath

Outhouse45 to 50 minutes;

General adult audience
This presentation takes a humorous look at hygienic practices over the years.  So if you always wondered what did they use before toilet paper was popular, or how did they clean their teeth without toothpaste, or even what did women use prior to the availability of tampons and feminine napkins, you’re questions will be answered.

Schneider Haus Digging into History Series

Schneider Haus National Historic Site is pleased to offer presenters who can speak to your group.  Want to book? Give us a call at 519-742-7752.

More Than Just Schmecks Appeal 

Edna StaeblerIn More Than Just Schmecks Appeal, we take a look at the fascinating 100 year life of local author Edna Staebler, how she got her start in creative nonfiction writing, and her successful series of Mennonite cookbooks that established her as a household name in the Region of Waterloo and beyond.

Digging into History 
schneiders in the gardenIn Digging into History, we ‘uproot’ the stories and memories of historic gardens across the Region of Waterloo. We look at how historic gardens have functioned in heritage settings, such as Schneider Haus, as well as the histories behind some of our more contemporary plots within the Region, like the beautiful Rockway Gardens. 
Past Times 
PickwickIn Past Times we take a nostalgic look at the games and leisure activities that have been popular within the Region of Waterloo throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. We’ll visit the histories of favourite gathering places such as Victoria Park and Chicopee Ski Hill, local theatres and drive-ins, and even explore Schneider Haus’ own recreational past.