Speaking Series

Come join us as the Newburgh Museum hosts a Speaking Series the first Sunday of each month April-November from 1-3 pm. Enjoy the latest exhibit, and hear a different guest speaker each month sharing pieces of Newburgh and the surrounding area’s history.


April 3: 1787-1803 Northwest Ordinance and Territory

Joe Herron, Chief of Interpretation and Resource Management for the George Rogers Clark National Historic Park in Vincennes, IN, will cover the 1785 establishment of the great Northwest Territory and the consequential Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Indiana is one of five states derived from these documents that outlawed slavery and provided for public schools in each township.

May 1: George Rogers Clark and Fort Sackville

Lela White, Park Ranger and Volunteer Coordinator for the George Rogers Clark National Historic Park in Vincennes, IN, will discuss George Rogers Clark and his historic capture of Ft Sackville in Vincennes in 1779. This event proved to be the most important victory of the Revolutionary War west of the Appalachian Mountains because it turned over 560,000 square miles into newly established United States land.

June 12*: Indiana Territory and Governor William Henry Harrison 1800-1812

David Weaver attended the University of Illinois and majored in American History and Military History. For the last 20 years he has been employed at the Vincennes State Historic Sites and is currently the Site Manager. He also managed the Ernie Pyle State Historic Sites for 15 years. He will discuss the Indiana Territory and early statehood as well as William Henry Harrison as Territorial Governor and first State Governor.

July 10*: The Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery 1803-1806

Over the past sixteen years, Matt Alschbach has taught history courses for colleges and universities in California, Texas and Kentucky.  He currently teaches U.S. history, World War II history, and Kentucky history courses at Owensboro Community and Technical College.  His areas of expertise include colonial American history, Latin American history, U.S./Mexico borderlands history, and the role of women as purveyors of medicine and folk magic in colonial America.  He is the author of several articles and publications, including his 2008 thesis “Misogyny, Women and Witchcraft: The Curandera in Colonial Mexico.”

August 7: Showboats and Excursion Boats – When Entertainment Came to the River

With a passion, since boyhood, for steamboats and the sounds they make, Travis Vasconcelos has spent most of his life connected with river history. He has worked, at one time or another, on virtually all the steam-powered river vessels in the country, serving in a variety of capacities. His interest in steam calliopes began with the Belle of Louisville (where he served as House Calliopist for 14 years), leading to finding a niche as a calliopist on almost every steamboat operating on the inland waterways. His interest in calliopes has led him to becoming one of the nation’s authorities on their history and operation, both for land-based and river-based instruments.

Beginning with a college degree in Computer Science, and in addition to his work with riverboat calliopes, his career has included operating and maintaining the Indiana University calliope (over a 10+ year period), working as a pipe organ builder, and serving as a “Riverlorian” (River Historian) for over 15-years with the Delta Queen Steamboat Company, Majestic America Line, and the American Queen Steamboat Company.

His relationship with the Howard Steamboat Museum began with membership in the museum in 1978, to volunteer work, then six years as Administrative Assistant, and becoming the Director and Curator in 2020. He continues in this position today.

Travis maintains his relationships with steamboats and other river vessels throughout the country as a calliopist and river historian, and has served as a consultant in those subject areas for people all over the United States and some foreign countries.

September 4: Young Abe Lincoln in Indiana 1816-1830

Joshua A. Claybourn is a member with the law firm of Jackson Kelly PLLC and a historian focusing on Abraham Lincoln’s youth in Indiana. He is editor of The Wilderness Years of Abraham Lincoln (Indiana University Press, 2022) and co-editor (with William Bartelt) of Abe’s Youth: Shaping the Future President (Indiana University Press, 2019). Claybourn frequently serves as host of Lincoln Log, a podcast featuring conversations with leading historians and other officials about their stories, research, and wisdom. He appears as a featured historian in the six-part CNN documentary Lincoln: Divided We Stand.

Claybourn serves on the board of directors of both the Abraham Lincoln Association and Abraham Lincoln Institute, and is a member of The Lincoln Forum, American Historical Society, and Organization of American Historians. He is past chair and a current member of the Southern Indiana Civil War Roundtable and first commander and current officer of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War John W. Foster Camp No. 2. He frequently serves as a featured speaker on Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War.

Claybourn is also editor of Our American Story: The Search for a Shared National Narrative (Potomac Books, 2019), a collection of provocative essays by leading thinkers and public figures addressing the same central question—what is the unifying American story? His work on law and policy have appeared in such periodicals as USA TodayThe HillThe American Spectator, and World Magazine. Furthermore, he has appeared as a guest on CNN, MSNBC, and NHK.

October 2: Eldora Miner-Raleigh – 1852-1930: A Woman Ahead of Her Time

Anne Rust-Aurand is a Newburgh native, retired middle school teacher and librarian, current local business woman and our very own Warrick County Historian.

She was instrumental in establishing Newburgh, England as our “Sister City”, and has served 21+ years on the Newburgh Town Council. She also is working on restoring an 1870 home in Boonville.

November 6: Local Contributions to the WWII Effort

Mark Browning, MD, is an experienced, board certified Medical Oncologist and Hematologist at the Ascension St Vincent Evansville Cancer Center. Outside of the office, Dr. Browning enjoys serving on numerous boards in the Evansville community and has direct involvement with the Evansville Wartime Museum, Igleheart Gardens, IU Medical School-Evansville, and the University of Southern Indiana. He has a special passion for geneology and local history.



In 2021, our schedule included these speakers: 

  • Jay Davis, Yankeetown FD Chief; retired supervisor/Lockmaster, Newburgh Lock and Dam
  • Colleen Talley and Jann Allen with the Warrick County Museum
    ‘Visit Yesterday Today’…..learn what’s new about the history and culture of Warrick County located in Boonville, IN.
  • Newburgh Rocks: Ralph Baker, Certified Petroleum Geologist
    View Archive Video
  • Bill Bartelt, co-editor – Abe’s Youth: Shaping the Future President
    View Archive Video
  • James Hevron discusses the Lincolns of Spencer County.
    View Archive Video
  • William Clark, with David Lutz, “A Brief Look at Different Ancient Cultures in the Tri-State”
  • 100 Years of Vintage Clothing Revisited: Jennifer Greene, Associate Professor of Library Science and University Archivist at the David L. Rice Library, University of Southern Indiana
  • The Audubons in Henderson (1810-1819): Heidi Taylor-Caudill, Curator of the John James Audubon State Park Museum, Henderson, Kentucky
  • Cory Burdette: The Gator Navy – The Importance of the LST in WW2 and Beyond


In 2020, our schedule included these speakers: 

  • Jay Davis, Yankeetown FD Chief; retired supervisor/Lockmaster, Newburgh Lock and Dam
  • Aaron Luttrull, Newburgh’s Civil War Culture and Architectural Landscape
  • Mike Wittenbraker, Local Firefighting from an Experienced Professional
  • AJ Mason, The Museum of the Coal Industry, Lynnville
  • Anne Rust Aurand, Newburgh, England