Want to see more of what our lectures are all about? These videos highlight our programs.
Here’s a preview for our new lecture offering in 2019: “The Orphan Train Era: Why was there an Orphan Train?.”
Other lecture programs we offer:
“Michigan’s Passenger Pigeons…Gone Forever” This unique Lecture and Visual presentation about a 70 year event in Michigan’s history. From the 1830’s and through the 1890’s, the Passenger Pigeon was the most beautiful bird and the dominate species in the State of Michigan. It was also the most hunted bird from April into September, depending on its roosting patterns. Professional hunters and game dealers came from New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio to get in on the hunt. The program follows a timeline of historic events in Michigan’s History which led to the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon. This presentation is 60 minutes in length and features a wonderful story, beautiful artwork, specimens from the Cranbrook Institute of Science, plus sounds of nature as it was in the middle 1800’s. Download the brochure here.
“When Amelia Came to Michigan” is a 60 minutes lecture and visual presentation created in the Spring 2014 is the real life story of Amelia Earhart’s adventures in Michigan. Our many years of research indicates she was here more than 25 times promoting the aviation industry and opportunities for women in this field. Our lecture and visual presentation begins with her childhood at the turn of the century, her family life and education, early flying experiences, the world records and her 8 years of adventures in Michigan. Over a 10 year period, we collected Michigan newspaper articles about Amelia, also hundred’s of photographs, old film footage, plus the music from the 1920’s and 30’s. Our lecture presentation reveals the life and times of the woman who flew for the fun of it. For more information, contact us at 248-333-2010 or email al (at) program-source.com . Download the .pdf document here.
“The History & Legends of Spain” is a 70 minutes lecture and visual presentation created in 2014. The adventure begins in Madrid with visits to historic sites such as “Valley of the Fallen”, Basilica De La Santa Cruz, the El Escorial Monastery and the Royal Palace of El Pardo. Later, we go to Toledo and visit the Toledo Cathedral and San Domingo De Silos, where El Greco spent many years painting. We also visit the countrysides of Spain and see their agricultural resources and the windmills made popular by Don Quixote. Our tour continues through the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Grenada, with stops along the Costa del Sol region of the Spanish Riviera. A trip to Spain wouldn’t be complete with out a visit the the Rock of Gibralter, where we ventured into the WWII tunnels and natural caverns. We also met the local population of the Macaque apes. Heading to Seville, we go to a restaurant, known for their tapas, stop at bull rings, enjoy a Flamenco Dance show and visit the the Royal Palace of Seville and the Royal Cathedral. Stops are also made at the Mosque of the Caliphs before returning to the US from Madrid. For more information, contact us at 248-333-2010 or email al (at) program-source.com
More of our offerings:
“The History & Legends of Norway” is a 70 minute lecture and visual presentation. The Adventure begins 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Kirkenes, Norway. From a “working ship”, the MS Richard With, we and 400 fellow travelers cruise 1100 miles stopping at 33 village ports on the way to Oslo. During this nine day excursion we experience the storms of the North Sea and the gentle fjords of Norway. This presentation was recorded in the HD television format and offers spectacular views of natural beauty including village life, wind turbine farms, Viking villages and fortresses, United States Radar tracking site, an Eagle Safari, fish farming, Arctic Circle monument, oil and gas refineries, museums and city life in Oslo. Throughout the lecture we address such topics as the system of government, education policy, population, religion, wages, taxes, unemployment, health care, natural resources, the Royal family, Olympics, ski resorts, cliff divers, famous people, cathedrals, WWII, the Flamsbana Railroad, Knute Rockne, fine dining in Bergen and many more highlights of this nine day adventure. Contact Al or Dave Eicher at 248-333-2010 or email al (at) program-source.com .
“The History & Legends of Finland” is a 60 minute lecture and visual presentation. This seven day adventure begins in the Helsinki area with a move northward across the Arctic Circle to Ivalo in Lapland ( Sami Country ) Finland is only a 100 year old republic having been controlled by Sweden for 600 years and followed by the Russian Czars for another 100 years. After WWII, Finland made a strong comeback. This presentation was recorded in the HD television format and covers City and Country life, education, religion, currency, wages, government, the Olympics, Helsinki shopping centers, unemployment, cultural centers such as the National Theater, composer Johan Sibelius, the Rock Church, Castles, National Museum of Finland, Reindeer farming in Lapland, SIIDA Museum and WWII. The finale of the lecture is a display of the Northern lights 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Contact Al or Dave Eicher at 248-333-2010 or email al (at) program-source.com .
“Michigan in the Civil War” This lecture and visual presentation was developed over a 5 year period by Al and Dave Eicher. More than 150 Michigan research centers such as Libraries, historical societies and individuals contributed information and photographs. The presentation includes visits to the many Historic sites relating to Civil War events in Michigan and old photos of places where the recruits joined the Union cause. The producer’s television cameras also went to the Harper’s Ferry Arsenal, Gettysburg Battle fields, the Battle of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, the crossing of the Rappahannock River, Petersburg, Bull Run and Fredericksburg. Michigan men and women were there! Today, Michigan has many Civil War reenactment groups which each year set up camps at Old Fort Wayne, Caseville, Huron City, Port Austin and at Jackson, Michigan to name only a few locations. The Jackson event is the largest encampment next to Gettysburg. Nearly, 2,300 troops took part in various battles scenes and are featured in this lecture. This presentation is unique in that it develops a month by month timeline of events in Michigan and at the Eastern battlefields. At the beginning of the war, in April of 1861, Michigan had about 1200 men and a few officers in the State Militia. By January of 1865 nearly 89,000 Michigan soldiers had served in the war. This program in 77 minutes tells true stories about Michigan people and Governor Blair’s search for troops to meet Lincoln’s request. The music and sounds created at the reenactment events make this a very special program relating to Michigan’s role in the Civil War.
“The Early Days of Radio in Michigan” presents the history of the first commercial radio stations and the programs of that era. As the public interest increased and radio set sales sky rocketed, radio soon became an “All American past time”. From the mid 1920’s to the 1950’s, several hundred network radio programs were created. Some of the best shows originated from Detroit, Chicago and New York City. This lecture will stimulate many wonderful memories of the early days of radio.
“European Waterways: Legends & History from Amsterdam to Vienna” This adventure in European History begins at Amsterdam with a Canal Tour of the city and a visit to a Museum and Diamond Factory. Our river boat “The River Melody” will be your floating hotel and dining room for this 15 day journey. We visit 23 cities and villages along the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers. The adventure was recorded in the High Definition television format with digital sound which creates the feeling of actually being there. Walking tours and visits to several cathedrals, castles, palaces, wineries in caves, a brewery and prison, plus home visits are only a few events in the adventure. We also visit the Hall of Justice and Room 600 where the Nuremburg Trials were held and the Parade grounds of the 3rd Reich. At historic Heidelberg, the Castle Fortress, the University tour, meeting the Student Prince and a Wagon ride up to Old Rothemburg and the Christmas Museum adds to the adventure. River cruising offers a spectacular view of the Danube Valley Grand Gorge. It also makes it possible for convenient stops at the Weltenburg and Melk Abbeys. We will pass through 66 locks on our way to Vienna, Austria. The Lecture and Visual presentation can be tailored for a 1 ½ to 2 hour program with Q & A to follow.
“When Mark Twain Came to Michigan” is a very special presentation developed from several years of research. The lecture covers a period in the mid 1890’s when Mark Twain and Major James Pond, his business manager, started the author’s world lecture tour. We obtained a diary of his travels in Michigan. At that time he was also accompanied by his wife and daughter. Old photos and scenes of hotels, steamships, train stations and the St. Clair Flats are just a few of nearly 100 scenes depicting the days of Mark Twain in Michigan.
“History & Legends…Traveling the Russian Waterways from St. Petersburg to Moscow” Al Eicher traveled the rivers and lakes on a 1200 mile journey capturing the sights and sounds from St. Petersburg to Moscow. We begin our profile on the Legends and History of Russia’s past plus current economy and lifestyles. Among the many stops along the way, he visited the historic Peter and Paul Fortress, the Palace of Catherine the Great, Peterhof, Yusupow Palace, the Ballet at the Alexandrinsky Theatre, the Volga Baltic Waterway, the Village of Svirstroy, Kizhi Island and the 22 domed Church of the Transfiguration, and Ivan the Terrible’s 16th Century Fortress in Uglich among the many stops along the way. The trip ended with 3 days in Moscow visiting Red Square, Cathedral of St. Basil, State Armory, the Kremlin, Russian Space Training Center, the Tretvakov Art Gallery and the Russian War Museum. No visit to Russia would be complete without a trip to the famous Moscow Circus. Besides learning about the Legends and History of Russia, you’ll get a look into the current economy and lifestyle for Russia’s citizens.
“History & Legends…Greece, Turkey & the Islands” Al Eicher traveled to over 50 locations in these countries visiting sites of the early civilizations. He also traveled to the islands of Mykonos, Crete, Patmos, Petra and Santorini. This lecture and visual presentation captures spectacular views of the ancient ruins, snow capped mountains and stories of Greek mythology. Sites visited include Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Patmos, Rhodes, Lindos, Knossos, Sounion, Thira, Oia, Mycenae, Mars Hill, Kalambaka, Kusadasi, Delphi, Olympia, St. Johns Cave, St. Andrews by the Sea and more. The most incredible panoramic views were captured at Meteora where 13 monasteries were built in the 14th and 15th centuries. Many of the monasteries are located on the high pinnacles of the Pindos mountain range. Al shot 4 hours of documentary style video and over 800 digital photos. The presentation has been edited into an 80 minute lecture giving the audience a front row seat, including the sights and sounds of cruising to the islands and climbing to the Acropolis sites of many old cities. Experience the visual history and legends of Greece and Turkey. Q & A follows.
“Traveling the Inside Passage to Alaska” is a view of the last American frontier. The lecture is a current and historic look at the sights and sounds along the way. Al Eicher spent 11 days cruising from port to port with television camera at the ready, to capture the days of the Klondike Gold Rush, the glaciers, and the small villages. Experience a trip through the mountains on the White Pass Railroad and seeing the Alaskan wildlife, plus whale watching makes this a real eye opener to the last American frontier.
“The History of Music Boxes in Michigan” This lecture and multi-media presentation was developed by Al Eicher who has been a music box collector for many years and frequented many auctions where the collectors gather. He and his son, David traveled throughout Michigan filming and recording the sounds of over 100 music boxes. The lecture covers the history of the music box starting with the early chiming watches of the 1700 century including the early barrel organs and carillons. The first music boxes were for the wealthy who liked to sniff snuff. The snuff box was just the right size to hold the small music movements. Vinaigrette boxes were also very popular. The lecture presentation follows a timeline where we find Geneva, Switzerland and Leipzig, Germany becoming the major manufacturing centers for the components of the cylinder, and eventually the disc music boxes of the 18th and 19th centuries. A segment of the program is devoted to the history of music which reveals the great music composers of the period. Music for many years was performed only for the European nobility. The advent of the music box would bring music of the great composers to the public. At the end of the 19th Century, some of the European music box companies came to the United States to set up manufacturing and distribution in the great American society.
“Ballooning, Blimps & the Great Airships” This lecture and visual presentation covers three types of aircraft used in man’s early effort to maintain flight. We begin with the 1783 French balloonists, continuing on with the Civil War ballooning program and the Aeronautical Division of the Union Army. Michigan’s own General Custer used the balloon for observing the Confederates. After the Civil War, ballooning became an exhibition tool serving the circus and the Michigan County Fair circuit. The history of blimps and rigid airships, here in America, begins in the early 1900’s. Our presentation addresses the early Army and Navy blimps of WWI and WWII, plus the 1920’s classic Gordon Bennet Balloon races and the WJR Radio balloon of that era. The rigid airship segment shows the making of the 3 great airships, the crews at work and the interiors of these giant 850 foot dirigibles. Henry Ford also had an interest in this aviation phenomenon. Several years of research and a collection of over 600 photos plus many hours of historic movie footage makes this an outstanding presentation.
“The Orphan Train in Michigan” Did you know 12,500 orphans from New York City and the Boston area were placed in Michigan from 1854 to 1927? Al and David Eicher, research historians and television producers, spent a year and a half in research and searching for photos of the Orphan Train Riders in Michigan. The lecture and visual presentation provides in depth detail about this event in Michigan’s history. Experience the reality of the Orphan Train Rider, the placement, selection process, and the Orphan Train Agents. The first Orphan Train Riders arrived in Dowagiac, Michigan on a Sunday morning in late September 1854. By 1927, 43 Michigan towns received orphans from the “Baby Train”, as it was sometimes called. Most of the children came from the New York, New Jersey and the Massachusetts areas.
“Indian History of Michigan’s Thumb Region…Ancient and Current Times”
Michigan’s Thumb region is rich in Native American History, dating back to ancient times. This lecture and visual presentation was developed after several years of research, collecting old photos, newspaper articles, and other historic records. The Ziibiwing Cultural Center plus several Historical Societies and area Museums were helpful in letting Program Source International use and photograph many artifacts presented in the visual portion of this educational program. The presentation covers the ancient and modern times” of Indians living during the Paleo Indian era to the coming of the Anishanabe. The 1600’s bring the French traders and the Missionaries. The Eicher’s, with their television cameras, went to many Indian Village sites, Indian Mission locations and burial mounds. The presentation covers a visit to the Petroglyphs in Sanilac County. They traveled to the “Great White Rock” in Lake Huron and walked the river banks where treaties were signed. Michigan has a fascinating and active Native American Culture.
“Michigan’s Lumbering Days and Camp Life”
Two hundred years ago, the early pioneers of the Michigan territory wrote about the majestic forests, the tall white pines, and the great oaks. Our lecture series on the history of lumbering in Michigan covers the first settlements and earliest forms of lumber harvesting. We use an historic outline to progress from hand hewn logs to finished lumber…from water powered mills to the 1883 steam engines which powered most of the sawmills throughout lower Michigan. By the mid 1850’s, most of the people in Michigan lived south of line from Grand Rapids to Port Huron. At this time, 600 lumber camps employed a wonderful mix of humanity. Our video portion of the lecture shows historic movie footage and photos of this period in Michigan’s history. We also bring along, for display, the historic tools that these lumberjacks used in their quest for harvesting the big trees.
“The History of Michigan’s Largest Commercial Fishery”
This presentation documents the history of Michigan’s largest commercial fishery on Saginaw Bay from the 1850’s to current times. Early records indicate Lower Saginaw, now known as Bay City, had the first fisheries. The fishing industry also developed at Bay Port, Essexville, East Tawas, Au Sable, Caseville, Oscoda, and Sebewaing. This 150 year history includes salt well operations, ice harvesting, archival photos plus rare film footage from fisheries around Saginaw Bay. Two years of research, on location shooting, underwater photography and first hand interviews gives proof Saginaw Bay was the world’s largest freshwater fishery and is still a viable fishery today.