Brown Bag History Series

Bring your lunch and learn! These seasonally recurring events bring highly-qualified speakers to the library to share varied topics of cultural, historical, or scientific interest. These free programs are a partnership of the University of Nebraska at Kearney's History Department and the Kearney Public Library. #HistoryRemembered

Brown Bag Lunch Option 1

April WhiteApril White (G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture)

  • Wednesday, October 12, 2022
  • Noon–1:00 pm
  • Kearney Public Library

Welcoming the Uninvited: Victorian Era Spiritualism, Séances, and Charlatans

One of the more fascinating cultural characteristics of the Victorian Era encompassed an obsession with death and the afterlife. While many concepts grew in popularity as a result of this phenomenon—deathbeds, lockets of hair, memento mori photographs—none quite captured their macabre desire to communicate with lost loved ones like a good, old-fashioned séance. This talk will discuss how Victorian infatuation with death sometimes manifested as séances, and consequently how many unscrupulous individuals saw them as an opportunity to make some quick cash by posing as mediums and using parlor tricks to make conceivable contact with the "other side."

April White is the director of the G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture. She has been involved with the UNK museum in various capacities since 2012, including as interim director from March 2013 to May 2014 and from July 2019 to August 2020. She has previous experience as an assistant collection coordinator at the Museum of Nebraska Art and holds two degrees from UNK, a Bachelor of Arts in art history and a Master of Arts in history. 

Upcoming Dates and Speakers

  • October 12, 2022: April White — Welcoming the Uninvited: Victorian Era Spiritualism, Séances, and Charlatans
  • November 9, 2022: Kearney Street Railway
  • December 14, 2022: TBA
  • January 11, 2023: Kearney's 150 Anniversary Year