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Presenters of Living History

Our History







Over 40 years ago, Phyllis Patterson started the "Living History Centre".  Allowing her students a chance to perform the living history they were learning about, she gave birth to the Renaissance Faire concept.  For about 30 years, LHC presented The Renaissance, Victorian London, Old West and Early California.  Operating in conjunction with these events, Workshops in the Woods began.  Programs were offered to students, allowing them to visit the faire village and participate in living history through classes taught by a number of presenters trained in various historical crafts and skills. 


Linda Underhill ran these programs for LHC for many years. When LHC eventually sold the faire to REC, an entertainment corporation with less interest in education, Linda formed her own corporation: "Presenters of the Past." The tradition of passing on the understanding of a history that is alive to a new generation of students continued with her work.



Patrick Franz began working with Linda through LHC & POP over 15 years ago. Over the years, he has taught most of the classes, as well as administrating. He has formed relationships with over 100 historical presenters. Now Linda and Phyllis' work continues with Presenters of Living History. We have presenters who have taught for both the LHC and POP, and together have well over a century of experience in multiple eras (Although, understandably, our strength is the Renaissance).



In the summer of 2005, Patrick met JoNell and, soon after, they got married.  She eagerly joined in the project of keeping PLH thriving.  Fondly recalling those teachers back in the days of primary and secondary school, she knows full well the impact one moment of true passion about a subject can have on a growing mind.  The thought of being one of those teachers is a driving factor behind her determination to see these programs succeed.  Together, Patrick and JoNell are working toward increasing the number of programs PLH presents each year, adding new classes, and recruiting new Presenters.


JoNell has a long-standing relationship with history, stemming back to the days of touring castles as a child.  She went to university in England where she earned a BA in Art history and Drama & Theatre Studies.  Her personal goal for the company is to widen the variety of historical eras available, stretching further back into the Ancient Studies and farther east to Ancient China and Japan.  In the meantime, she focuses on learning as many of the classes as possible and assisting with the creation of new ones.


This year is an exciting one for PLH!  We're finally realizing a long-standing dream as we close in on our non-profit status.  We've incorporated, and our 501c3 paperwork is pending.  Now it is time for the waiting game.  Final confirmation should come early next year (2008).  Keep checking back for updates!


Our Renaissance programs continue to grow steadily, and our Civil War programs are growing even more dramatically.  We're beginning our second pilgrimage of CW sites through Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania & Tennessee.  It is an awe-inspiring and deeply moving experience to visit these sites, but our goal is to communicate to the students the impact the Civil War had on the United States as a whole and to the individuals who were involved most closely.  We hope these visits will bring new insight to our classes.


Would you like to become part of the PLH family?  Email us for more information!  We are always looking for new presenters.  We can train you in many of the classes, or, if you are interested in developing a new class, we can help you find the resources you need.  



 Photos by: Martin Butler  Marked Turtle Vision (For the entire collection, Please go to: The Turtles Vision - PLH)

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