A LITTLE TOUCH OF HISTORY

June 25, 2008 Barry Cauchon

A Little Touch of History is not only the name of this history blog, but is the name of the live presentation that I give to high schools, colleges and professional associations.

Hi. My name is Barry Cauchon of Awesometalks and I want to share a little bit of myself with you today. I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with my wife and daughter. I work in the museum and exhibit industry as a Senior Project Manager. I am also a professional speaker, bringing my history road show “A Little Touch of History” to high schools, colleges, universities and professional associations.

As many of you may already know, I was the Senior Project Manager on the current King Tut touring exhibit, “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs”, “Diana: A Celebration” (the Princess Diana tour) and the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre. All were awesome experiences and I promise to tell you about them one day soon.

For those of you who have followed my blog for some time you can tell that my fondness for history has recently focused on Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States and the Civil War. Although this subject matter is my current passion, I do have a wide range of other historical interests that I enjoy. As time goes on, I will post articles about some of these other subjects, but for now, I will continue to post mostly Lincoln info and offer these tidbits through my DID YOU KNOW series.

Here are a few of the other historical subjects that I enjoy (listed in no particular order): The Great Ocean Liners (from Titanic to Queen Mary II), the Great Rigid Airships (Zeppelins and other airships, Hindenburg, Graf Zeppelin, Akron, Shenandoah, Macon, R101, etc), the Wild West (late 1800s), Jack the Ripper (1888), Crime & Punishment, the History of Execution and the men who performed these deeds (harsh subject but the world has a great history on this subject), Presidential Assassinations and Attempts, NASA and space travel, German U-Boats and submarines, the Holocaust, Princess Diana, King Tut and the Egyptian Pharaohs, naval warfare and WW II. I guess this list makes me a generalist as I don’t specialize in any one subject, but it is what it is.

How did I get interested in some of these subjects?  I think my direct exposure to the subject matter contributed greatly. For instance, I grew up in Hampton, VA which overlooks the Hampton Roads/ Chesapeake Bay, opposite the Norfolk Naval Base. I developed my interest in submarine and naval history because there was a steady stream of battleships, destroyers, aircraft carriers and submarines on display at the end of my street. My interest in NASA and the space program came to be because my father worked as an NASA aeronautical engineer for 10 years at Langley Air Force Base. He worked on the Apollo program with regards to the space capsule re-entry heat shield. Growing up in Virginia certainly exposed me to Civil War history. As far as my good friend Abraham Lincoln, every school kid is taught about this great president. But I remember most vividly, a school trip to Washington DC which included a stop over at Ford’s Theatre and the Petersen House. That is when I really wanted to learn more about President Lincoln. Finally, my interest in the Holocaust, Princess Diana and King Tut all came from being directly involved in exhibits on each subject.

So the lesson learned here, and what I promote in my speeches and presentations to classes and professional organizations, is that you need to be ‘touched’ by history to make it important to you. My live presentation, A Little Touch of History” is my way of doing that. As part of my presentation, I bring artifacts from my own collection so that my audience can actually touch a piece from history. If my artifacts and speech help to spark them to investigate the subject further, I know I have done my job.

Please contact me and let me know some of your stories and interests in history. I’d love your input and look forward to some great discussions on various subjects. Especially tell me what local history you have around your location and what you have discovered so far. I’d love to post some of your ‘local stories’.

You can contact me at outreach@awesometalks.com or leave a comment on this blog. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Best. Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

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Published in: on Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at '9:26 am'  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I am producing an 18 part video series on the Lincoln Assassination and am putting together a panel of experts to be in my film. Would you be willing to speak with me?

    David
    Fat Chance Flix

  2. I am a huge civil war buff. It is great to read your blog and converse with a fellow enthusiast!

  3. Your work on the Lincoln assination and the following apprehension, trial and execution of the conspirators is amazing to me. Excellent work and brought back many fond memories to us.

    Great work !

    I and my family lived in Qtrs 20-5, Ft. Mcnair, the site of the conspirators trial from 1970-1972.
    Please advise when your book is complete and how we might obtain a copy.

    Jim Connell

    • Thank you so much for the wonderful words Jim. I really appreciate it. My work on this blog has been very rewarding for me and I’ve met some terrific people because of it. John Elliott is one of those people. His interest in Ft. McNair really inspired me. He’s done a lot more research on the actual fort and Old Arsenal Penitentiary than I have but our individual interests and research have complimented each other nicely. John just finished writing his 2nd of 3 installments on The Washington DC Arsenal Penitentiary which I posted on this blog yesterday. I imagine you’ve already read it and Part 1 as well. Part 3 will cover the work done on the buildings and Ft. McNair since it was closed in 1869. A famous architect named Adolf Cluss was commissioned to redesign two wings of the Penitentiary just a couple of years after the executions. Building 20 or Grant Hall is scheduled for a restoration which will not only bring back the trial room on the 3rd floor, but also focus on the grandeur of Cluss’ work. I’m looking forward to Part 3 quite a lot.
      I am happy to put you on my book list and will be sending out an update shortly.
      Thanks again for your note. I’ve forwarded it John Elliott as well.
      Best
      Barry


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