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League of Most Interesting Gentlemen section icon - links to point of contact

The Natural Philosopher also "makes history" with a group of like-minded historical interpreters known as the League of Most Interesting Gentlemen. The League's goal is to redefine the scope and approach to interpretive historical education. The Gentlemen seek to “inform as well as entertain” discerning audiences and can tailor appearances to serve the needs of a site and its guests. The Gentlemen appear as President Thomas Jefferson: Fourth Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin; and Dr. Benjamin Franklin.

Members of the League have appeared on Virginia Time Travels (video embedded below) to discuss the role of living history in fostering understanding of the people and events involved. The highlighted text as well as the lower edge of the image to the left will take you to the video of that appearance. The footage is shared with you courtesy of Fairfax County Channel 21.

For more information about the League of Most Interesting Gentlemen, please contact Ron Duquette (Mr. Gallatin) via email.

Mad Scientists section title icon - no link The Mad Scientists: Tony Casperite and Dean Howarth

Want to match wits with two mad scientists? Topics in Science and Science Fiction are the themes for Quiz masters, Dean Howarth and Tony Casperite.

Sci-Fi has always intrigued curious minds. We live in a scientific age where intelligent robots and missions to Mars really exist! Mix that excitement with the popularity of pub quizzes and trivia nights, and you have a marketable event suitable for gatherings of curious visitors to conferences, planetariums, museums, etc. Tony and Dean, lead a comical yet challenging trivia quiz that can be customized to suit the audience. Questions might be about Professor Einstein or Doctor Who - Jupiter or Krypton - Apollo 11 or the Millennium Falcon.

The Philosopher's Apprentices section title icon - no link
Or - Making History Together - Dean Howarth & his Protégées

Dean Howarth’s work with Project Enlightenment has produced collaborations with a number of his former pupils. As students, they have been steeped in historical interpretation and its principle ideals. In working together with these partners, Dean has offered clients an added dimension to his performances.

The team dynamic offers a lively conversational discourse that allows for multiple perspectives on historical episodes. A prime example of this is gender diversity, where for instance, the world of science is presented through a feminine perspective, which evokes the Enlightenment spirit of great female thinkers of the 1700’s.

Rachel O'Connell as Kate Darby with friends. Photo courtesy of Ms. O'Connell and used with permission.

Accompanying Mr. Howarth is fellow interpreter, Rachel O’Connell who portrays a variety of roles such as the elusive female spy known only as “355”. Miss O’Connell shares stories of brave men and women who engaged in espionage during the Revolution. Together, Dean and Rachel allow audiences or student groups to try their hand at arts and science of secrecy.

Having worked with the Natural Philosopher since 2007, Rachel also assists Dean in a number of other roles pertaining a variety of topics including medicine (both real and quack varieties) and citizen science. Rachel also performs a narrative titled, “Modern Hypatia” wherein she recounts the work and lives of notable women of science in the Age of Enlightenment. See details in the related flyer (PDF format)

Abigail Fine as author Mary Shelley with Dr. Lind (Dean Howarth). Photo courtesy of Ms. Fine. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

Abigail Fine has parlayed her work in Project Enlightenment and her advanced studies in theater history and literature into a repertoire of personae as varied as the astronomer, Caroline Herschel; and renowned patron of science and arts, Georgiana the Duchess of Devonshire.

Ms. Fine’s scholarship and creative narratives show the importance of women’s contributions to science two-hundred years before the present-day initiative to promote girls in STEM. Depicted here, Abigail portrays Mary Shelley with the “Galvanist” Dr. Lind whose experiments inspired Frankenstein.

Melinda McCalley as Mary Anning with paleontology display at the National Museum of American History. Photo by Dean Howarth, copyright 2017. All Rights reserved.

Melinda McCalley took her childhood passion for animals and biology and crafted an expansive narrative based on historical research and collegiate scholarship in biology and zoology. Miss McCalley portrays several young female naturalists in the spirit of Jane Colden and Mary Anning. She and Dean convey the history of early paleontology and the systemic categorization of Nature echoing Banks, Humbolt, and Linnaeus.

Niab Montgomery as Sophie Blanchard at the Corcoran Salon 2013. Photo courtesy of Ms. Blanchard, used with permission.

Niab Montgomery has recently begun collaboration with the Natural Philosopher on a narrative based on 18th century Balloon-o-mania, the social and scientific craze based on human flight initiated by the Brothers Montgolfier in the 1780’s. Miss Montgomery’s portrayal of the daring female aeronaut, Sophie Blanchard, connects the spirit of adventure to the scientific importance of early flight.

Grace Myer and Jennifer Horowitz as 18th century salonieres

Grace Anne Myer and Jennifer Horowitz teamed up during their stint in Project Enlightenment and developed characters inspired by the salonieres of 18th century Europe. Their portrayals focus on the role of the arts and sciences as they pertain to intellectual society and social discourse.

Jennifer has portrayed noted female astronomer Caroline Herschel as part of a tandem astronomical presentation based on the pioneering work of Caroline and her stargazing brother, William.

Grace has also turned the clock forward to portray the ingenious actress/inventor, Hedy Lamarr; yet another example of the crucial role of women in science.

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In addition to their community service, students from Project Enlightenment have appeared in the regional press with Mr. Howarth. Several students also joined Mr. Howarth on Fairfax County's Channel 21 program "Virginia Time Travels", to discuss the role of living history in education. The video below is shared with you courtesy of Channel 21.

NOTE: All video links on this page and elsewhere in the site take you to YouTube.