Speakers Bureau


Take a front row seat as the Cleveland History Center presents significant stories that capture the Cleveland spirit. Speaking of Cleveland features the intriguing, curious and oft-forgotten tales from Cleveland’s past. Pulled directly from the nationally-recognized collections of the Western Reserve Historical Society, these stories capture the innovation, the grit and the pride that characterize Cleveland’s past, present and future.

Our historians and museum professionals are eager to share Cleveland’s stories with you. To book a Speaking of Cleveland engagement for your group or facility, please call 216-721-5722 x1502 or email education@wrhs.org.

Click here to inquire about our Speaking of Cleveland programs.

Click here to view our program guide


$250 per program + mileage

Cleveland Starts Here®

Join Kelly Falcone-Hall as she discusses Cleveland, its history, and the objects that were selected to represent our region’s history in Cleveland Starts Here® presented by the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation. Cleveland Starts Here® explores the rich and diverse history of Northeast Ohio. The new permanent exhibit opens at the Cleveland History Center in November 2017.

Cleveland: A to Z
JOHN GRABOWSKI, Senior VP of Research & Krieger Mueller Historian

Author and historian, John Grabowski, presents his newest tome on Cleveland – a city guide that is focused on the people, places, and events that define a city whose community played a significant but often unrecognized role in the growth of the nation.

Immigration and Migration to Cleveland: An Historical Overview in National/Global Context.
JOHN GRABOWSKI, Senior VP of Research & Krieger Mueller Historian

Today, Northeast Ohio is home to over 120 ethnic groups. How did our city and region, once an outpost of New England, become a global community?


$150 per program + mileage

Cleveland at War
ERIC RIVET, Curator Of Collections & Exhibits

What was Cleveland’s role in World War I and World War II? Learn about how Cleveland’s industrial power made key contributions to both wars. Hear the stories of prominent Clevelanders and local heroes who helped achieve victory, and see some of the treasures of the Western Reserve Historical Society’s military collections.

The Civil War in Northern Ohio
JOHN VACHA, Local Historian & Noted Author

Based on David Van Tassel’s posthumously published Behind Bayonets, this program explores life on the home front in Cleveland during the Civil War. Special attention is given to the role played behind the front line by women and the Soldiers Aid Society.

Wow Factor: 150 Years of Collecting Bold Clothes

Council Curator of Costume and Textiles Clevelanders use fashion to stand out in a crowd. Learn more about our city’s trendsetters, who they were, and where they shopped. Share in the images and stories that make up our exhibition in the Chisholm Halle Costume Wing, Wow Factor: 150 Years of Collecting Bold Clothes presented by PNC.

Ethnicity and Local History
SEAN MARTIN, Associate Curator for Jewish History

Explore the variety of ethnic communities to which we belong and the local communities in which we live. How do local groups operate within larger, national ethnic groups and how do they help us negotiate our identities as citizens?

The Italians in Cleveland
PAMELA DORAZIO-DEAN, Associate Curator of Italian American History

Explore Italian immigration to Cleveland from the late 19th century through present day, with a focus on life in the Italian enclaves of the city.

Beginning a Family History Project
ANN SINDELAR, Research Library Reference Supervisor

Tracing your family history is a fun and compelling project. Learn about the WRHS Research Library collections, services and classes. Find out how to research and add valuable information to your family tree.


Cleveland’s Great Lakes Exposition
JOHN VACHA, Local Historian & Noted Author

Hear the story of how, right in the middle of the Great Depression, Cleveland put on the biggest party it’s ever thrown. The author of Meet Me on Lake Erie, Dearie will introduce you to the Streets of the World, Cliff Wilson’s Snake Show and more.

Euclid Beach Park’s Grand Carousel – PTC No 19
JOHN FRATO, Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel Training & Volunteer Coordinator

This is the story of Euclid Beach Park’s Grand Carousel: its years in Cleveland, its operation in Maine, and its journey back to Cleveland. John Frato will recall the challenges encountered in the project to restore the 1910 antique carousel to full operation and stories of carousel memories, new and old.

Euclid Beach Park – Cleveland’s Most Beloved Amusement Park
JOHN FRATO, Euclid Beach Park GrandCarousel Training & Volunteer Coordinator

Food, rides and attractions. Why is Euclid Beach Park so very memorable? Learn about its early beginnings in 1895 and reminisce about its heyday, as well as its final days in 1969. Relive those special memories that Euclid Beach Park holds for Clevelanders.


$130 per program + mileage

Multiple booking discounts available for programs led by Museum Education Staff

History of Cleveland and the Western Reserve
This overview of Cleveland’s history spans from the early formation of the Western Reserve to the city’s bicentennial and beyond.

Cleveland in the Fab 50’s
Re-examine the 1950’s and the year in which the Indians, Browns, and Barons all played in championships, Marilyn Shepard was murdered, and Marilyn Monroe was married.

The Vehicles of the Western Reserve
At one time, Cleveland was the automobile capital of the world. Take a ride through the Western Reserve at the turn of the 20th century and discover a treasure of Cleveland-made vehicles.

Women of the Western Reserve
Meet the talented, inspired, creative, and innovative women of the Western Reserve. These admirable women were pioneers, philanthropists, musicians, doctors, educators, suffragettes, judges, legislators, and so much more.

Carl and Louis Stokes – From Projects to Politics
Two brothers from Cleveland helped reshape American history. Carl Stokes became the first African-American mayor of a major American city. His brother Louis was the first African-American US Congressman from Ohio. Together they advanced civil rights, promoted urban issues, and helped to make the United States a more equitable nation.

Eliot Ness’ Cleveland
Travel back to the time of bootleggers, beer and unsolved crimes. This program discusses the role of Eliot Ness during his tenure as Cleveland’s Safety Director from 1935 to 1942.

Garrett Morgan: Cleveland’s Civic Minded Inventor
Garrett Morgan, the son of former slaves, moved north from the segregated south and went on to become a self-made business man in Cleveland. Hear the story of how his inventions revolutionized public safety in the automobile age.

The Golden Age of Shopping in Cleveland
Which was more glamorous? Riding the elevator (with an operator!)? Or your first few tries on the escalator? Reminisce about Halle Brothers, May Co., Higbee’s and the Sterling Lindner Christmas Tree.

Holiday Topics

Christmas in Cleveland
How have yuletide traditions changed over the years in Cleveland? See how Clevelanders celebrated Christmases past, from attending the downtown parade and viewing the spectacular department store window displays, to visiting Mr. Jingeling at Halle’s and shopping at Higbee’s!

Crackers in the Streets: Holiday Traditions in the Western Reserve
Learn about celebrations and partying in the holiday season in the early years of the Western Reserve. Customs came with the settlers, but many of them we would not recognize today.

Valentine’s Day in Cleveland
Learn about the history of St. Valentine’s Day, experience a local story of true romance between Clevelanders Dawson and Anne Kelly, and remember your own February 14ths of years past. Examine a variety of valentines from the WRHS collection, and reminisce with Valentine’s Day advertisements.