Speakers Bureau Lectures

Chester County History Center offers a selection of lecture and special interest programs highlighting our museum, archival collections, and Chester County history. These programs draw upon the expertise of its professional staff and their research on various Chester County topics, and are available at your location or at CCHC. See our current lecture and presentation offerings below. To book a lecture, contact the presenter listed with each topic.


At your meeting place, or virtually: $115 for nonprofits, $150 for for-profits. Travel fees may apply for presentations outside of Chester County. 

Groups of 10 or more may schedule a program at CCHC from the list below. Includes self-guided access to the gallery. Starts at $115.

At CCHC special interest programs customized for your group are $20 per non-member, free for CCHC members. Includes all day admission to our library and museum exhibits.

*Pricing on new or special lecture topics may differ.


Chester County History  Explore the complex relationships between people and the land where they live and work. Learn about people from many heritages and walks of life who came to live in Chester County, the area’s rich agricultural heritage, social and reform movements and the wheels of industry. Contact: Ellen Endslow, Director of Collections/Curator [email protected]

Profiles: Chester County Clothing of the 1800s Clothing reveals a great deal about who we are. In 19th-century Chester County, it represented identity, choice, and place within the community. This talk illustrates high fashion and everyday adaptations worn here throughout a pivotal century. Contact: Ellen Endslow, Curator, [email protected] 

The White Carnation and the Red: The Battle for Mother’s Day, 1858-1948 In 1914, Anna Jarvis fulfilled a promise to her mother to create an official day of honor for mothers across the world. She spent the next 24 years trying to destroy it. Local Connection:  Anna Jarvis lived in Philadelphia for much of her adult life, and died in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Contact: Jennifer Green, Director of Education, [email protected]

G. Raymond Rettew’s Remarkable Penicillin Breakthrough Rettew’s perseverance in the early years of World War II changed the world then and our expectations of survival today. A PowerPoint introduction provides the local context for a video that dramatically narrates the remarkable story of how Rettew’s chemistry expertise first developed the mushroom spawn industry and then to mass-produced penicillin for the first time. Contact: Ellen Endslow, Director of Collections/Curator [email protected]

Breadbasket of the World The workings of the Mill at Anselma in Chester Springs are a valuable window into how a colonial era grist mill was built and functioned. Learn also about the history and context of farming, milling, and shipping PA flour around the globe. Contact: Jennifer Green, Director of Education, [email protected]

Life on a Colonial Pennsylvania Farm  Based on the history of the Pratt Farm in Edgmont, Delaware County, this program covers the trials, tribulations and everyday life of farm families in the 1700s. Learn about animal husbandry, crops, buildings, gardens, crafts and more. Contact: Jennifer Green, Director of Education, [email protected]

Many Nations | Chester County Celebrate 300 years of diversity through the lens of migration. From contact between the Lenape and the first European settlers in the 1600s, people from around the world have called Chester County home. Learn about the ways national and international events have led to such a diverse local population that continues to make a significant impact on our community. Contact: Ellen Endslow, Director of Collections/Curator, [email protected]

The Formative Years: Childhood 1830-1910  Work and leisure defined childhood in the 1800s. Toys and games contrasted with work on the farm or in the factory. Some children had an education, others did not. All contended with diseases yet to be conquered. This talk illustrates how children, and their welfare, were the foundation of Chester County and its people today. Contact: Ellen Endslow, Director of Collections/Curator, [email protected]

Chester County Ceramics The soil of Chester County has nurtured a number of pottery traditions from slip- or sgrafitto-decorated redware to fine Tucker porcelain. This PowerPoint-illustrated lecture traces the styles, methods of manufacture and uses of ceramics made in Chester County from the 18th to late 19th centuries. Contact: Ellen Endslow, Curator, at 610-692-4800 ext. 257, [email protected]

Chilling Reality: Chester County’s Arctic Explorers   Frostbite…polar bears…perpetual darkness…ship-crushing ice…death-defying journeys…These may sound like the makings of a Hollywood feature thriller. But this is the Chilling Reality of Chester County’s Arctic explorers. Explore the stories of four Chester Countians in their quest for northern achievements over an 80-year time span. You may discover that, hidden within their stories of endurance and bravado, are many lessons we can learn about our own 21st-century views of the Arctic. Contact: Ellen Endslow, Curator, at 610-692-4800 ext. 257, [email protected]

Pieces and Patterns: Quilt History and Chester County How are 19th century quilts made in Chester County similar to or different from quilts made elsewhere or at different times in history? This illustrated slide lecture explores materials, construction and styles of Chester County quilts and their place in the history of quilted handiwork. It also describes a 2003-2004 county-wide quilt documentation initiative. Contact: Ellen Endslow, Curator, [email protected]

Samplers and Schoolgirl Art From darning samplers to mourning pictures, needlework sheds light on the lives of 19th century women and girls from Chester County. Learn about the distinctive styles associated with the Westtown School and other female academies. Contact: Ellen Endslow, Curator, at 610-692-4800 ext. 257, [email protected]

It’s About Time!  Time never ends but the ways we measure it have changed dramatically.  Learn about how people have used sundials, clocks, almanacs and calendars to organize their daily, seasonal and annual schedules. Find out when time skipped a beat. Contact: Ellen Endslow, Curator,  [email protected]

What is Open Space? There are many opinions about what open space is or should be. Farm land, woodlands, parks, town squares, building courtyards, and bike trails are some examples. Personal experiences often shape opinions that affect individual and community outcomes. This talk looks at the colonial background of Chester County land and natural resource use and the ways that local people made choices through time. Contact: Ellen Endslow, Curator, [email protected]    

If you would like a custom lecture program, or are interested in seasonal or holiday related programs, email [email protected] and we may be able to develop a program for your group!