Speaking & Facilitation

As an internationally recognized authority on interpreting and preserving the history of gender, sexuality, and LGBTQ experiences, I offer training workshops, public talks, and keynote addresses on a range of topics related to the history of women, gender, and sexuality; LGBTQ history; and interpreting and preserving under-represented histories. I can also assist with facilitating brainstorming and interpretive sessions.


I tailor my presentations to my audiences, which have included fellow scholars, museum professionals, students, and the general public. My talks have ranged from keynote addresses to the featured event at museum-based cocktail parties. Topics have included: Interpreting LGBTQ History; LGBTQ Historic Preservation; Expanding Museum and Library Collections to Tell New Stories; and Career Diversity for Historians.

Here are examples of presentations I have given

How Are We to Tell the Women from the Men: Cross-Dressing in the Early Twentieth Century

I gave this presentation as part of the Thirsty Thursday cocktail hour series at the Conrad-Caldwell Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. The event featured a signature cocktail (!) and was a casual discussion of gender transgression at the turn of the twentieth century.

Poster for the Thirsty Thursday series at the Conrad-Caldwell Museum
Who says history can't be fun?

Queering Historic Preservation

This talk was given at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, in Philadelphia. In it, I discussed specific issues faced by preservationists when seeking to identify, document, and protect historically significant queer spaces. I have also given versions of this talk at Columbia University and Hendrix College.


Expanding Narratives with LGBTQ Interpretation

I have given various versions of this talk many times, as it is the subject of my book Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites, and I have continued to expand this work since the book’s publication. Places I have spoken on this topic include a keynote address at the Connecticut League of History Organizations; the Spirit and Place Festival in Indianapolis; the University of Leicester, in Leicester, England; and the Van Abbe Museum, in Einhoven, Netherlands.

Photo of the Van Abbemseum
The Van Abbemuseum in Einhoven


I also offer professional development in my areas of expertise: Women’s History; LGBTQ History; Museum Interpretation; Historic Preservation; and Career Planning. Clients have included the National Park Service, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the National Council on Public History.

Here are examples of workshops I have led

Preserving and Interpreting LGBTQ History

I have half-day, full-day, two-day, and three-day versions of this workshop, and can focus it on different areas depending on the client. Workshops are interactive, and ideally involve a tour of local LGBTQ sites. The National Park Service has been a regular client for these workshops, hosting them in Philadelphia; Washington, DC; and San Francisco.

Career Diversity for Humanities PhDs

I have a regular contract with Indiana University to work with and advise humanities graduate students to think about a broad range of careers. Using expertise gained through this work, I have offered workshops to graduate students on career preparation; the basics of non-academic job searching; and networking outside of the academy. I have also spoken at university graduate programs–including University of Massachusetts and University of West Virginia–on being an entrepreneur in a humanities field.


When it comes to charting new directions, many minds are better than one. Such visioning sessions benefit from a certain looseness of structure, but still require a wise hand to guide the conversation. I am available to assist in the planning and facilitation of such meetings of minds.

Here are examples of facilitation I have done

Stonewall National Monument, Scholar Charrette

Stonewall National Monument, in New York City, preserves the site of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, an important event in the struggle for LGBTQ rights. During the planning stages of this park, the National Park Service engaged me to help organize and to facilitate a two-day gathering of scholars to reflect on the significance and legacy of Stonewall, in order to guide the future park’s interpretation and management.

Susan and her colleague standing next to an NPS sign that says "Stonewall National Monument"
Megan Springate, NPS Advisor Extraordinaire, and I, doing the pilgrimage.

Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site, Telling the Whole Story

Eleanor Roosevelt is an extremely well-known and complex historical figure. As a result, visitors to the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site often bring preconceptions about her story. Rangers at the site rarely have a chance to all get together to discuss interpretive issues, given the constant need to lead tours of the site. The National Park Service arranged a special opportunity for the full interpretive staff at this site to convene and discuss the complexities of the Eleanor Roosevelt story and how to share its nuances with the public, an event that I facilitated.