Thanks to historic sites and old photographs, Brian Cushing became fascinated with exploring history as a living, tangible experience at an early age. He ultimately became involved in a variety of living history projects and currently makes his living as Program Director at Historic Locust Grove in Louisville, Kentucky.
Residing in the charming little old railroad town of La Grange, Kentucky with his fiancée and partner in history Amy, Brian spends his spare time exploring a variety of aspects of 19th Century life and helping out with programming at historic sites like Musée de Venoge.
A California transplant, Amy Liebert began her life as a Theatre major before choosing something sensible like History. She is currently the Department Head for History & Political Science at Jefferson Community & Technical College in Louisville, KY.
In her life as a performer, Amy has appeared at interactive theatre and living history events in California and the greater Ohio Valley, including portraying Queen Victoria at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco and locally as a first-person program. She is the Ladies Costuming Director for Historic Locust Grove in Louisville, KY.
When not performing or teaching, she can usually be found sewing, gardening, or enjoying a mint julep on the porch with Brian and their three cats.
Ryan Vallo is a writer, actor, and historian. Among a slate of period movies and TV dramas, Ryan is creator of Age of Jackson, a TV drama series and biography on President Andrew Jackson. The pilot, “Will O’ Wisp Treason,” has placed in the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards, as well as the Emerging Screenwriters and Table Ready My Screenplay contests.
Ryan has penned the script for a new movie, Truman & Me, which tells the story of a young woman’s chance, park bench meeting with aging, former President Harry S. Truman during the Vietnam War.
Ryan appeared as Gustav the Magician in PBS’ web series The Big Adventures of Little Ioda, winner of 5 Emmy® Awards. Other favorite roles include Richard Firmin in The Phantom of the Opera, J.B. Bigley in How to Succeed In Business, Thenardier in Les Miserables, Mr. MacAfee in Bye Bye Birdie, and Kenickie in Grease.
He is a proud alumnus of the music theatre program at Baldwin Wallace University, and will soon graduate with a masters in American History from the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland.
Steve Abolt recently retired as commanding officer of the 7th US Infantry Living History Association. He served in that position for 30 years after founding the organization in 1989. The 7th USILHA is one of the most respected and well-known historical organizations in the field.
Mr. Abolt has created, managed and produced historical events around the United States for almost 30 years. His clients include the National Park Service and State Parks. He organized and managed the 250th birthday anniversary of Andrew Jackson at the Hermitage in Nashville, TN. and the 252nd Anniversary celebration 2018. In 2011 he organized and commanded the Bicentennial Commemoration of the battle of Tippecanoe for the Tippecanoe County Historical Society. In 2016 he partnered with the same organization for the Indiana Statehood event entitled Tippecanoe and Indiana Too!
In 2015 he along with his 7th INF staff, organized and produced the largest event of the War of 1812 Bicentennial. New Orleans 1815 saw a week-long event in New Orleans and Chalmette, LA. Over 1500 participants from around the world. Along with his videographer, Joe Erdmann, Steve wrote, produced, directed and narrated a two-hour documentary on this once in a lifetime event. The title of the Film was New Orleans 1815: Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On.
Mr. Abolt has numerous stage, film and television credits. He appeared on camera as the primary historian for the Emmy Award Winning History Channel production of First invasion, The War of 1812. For his work on the film Mr. Abolt was submitted for an Emmy Nomination.
He operates Allegheny Arsenal. He manufactures exacting replicas of American military and civilian uniforms and attire. His area of expertise is the time period of 1810 through 1840. Mr. Abolt has numerous museum exhibits to his credit including, Andrew Jackson’s New Orleans uniform for the Historic New Orleans Collection, Meriwether Lewis’ Dress Uniform for the National Endowment of the Humanities and the uniforms worn by the interpretive staff of Ft. McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, MD.
Donna Weaver is Director of Musee de Venoge, an historic site in Switzerland County, Indiana, and has 20 years of experience in living history. She was directly involved in the 3 years of direct restoration and now the ongoing use and maintenance of the Venoge Cottage. Donna has organized events and activities at the site for 13 years and was instrumental in the building of their Exhibit and Visitor Center and barn.
Donna has 30 years’ work as a sculptor and designer and her low-relief wax portraits done in a period manner have been featured in Early American Life Magazine and also through Indiana Artisan. Her work is in museums and private collections.
Employed at the United States Mint, Philadelphia, PA 2000-2006, as Sculptor/Engraver, she designed and sculpted United States coins and medals. She has over 120 coin and medal credits. Currently she is an Artistic Infusion Artist for the U. S. Mint designing for specific United States coinage and gold medal programs.
I was passionate about playing violin from the age of eight. However, I became sidetracked into a world of basic medical research. Starting at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, I began research in infectious diseases. My wife and I while on sabbatical at the National Institutes of Health, both learned to dance in the evenings and I learned to play for dance. Now, I am an emeritus associate professor of experiential medicine at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. All the while I was in my ‘life in science’ I also played music and built instruments when I found time. After all, while in graduate school in biophysics, I felt compelled to build a harpsichord and several hammer dulcimers.
After nearly 30 years in research, I felt the need to play music and make instruments full time.
I play traditional music from many cultures. I have performed with a number of groups for country dancing, preferring to play second fiddle and improvising.
I teach children basic skills they would have known if they had grown up in the 18th century. I do this at historic re-enactment events from the east coast to the Midwest.
Joseph Erdmann has been a member of the 7th US Infantry Living History Association for the past 10 years. He has been involved in the Living History field for over 30 years.
He has worked as a Historical Interpreter at Historic Fort Snelling and has helped organize many events, including the largest War of 1812 event held, The Battle of New Orleans bicentennial event in 2015.
Mr. Erdmann has also had been involved in many film and television projects. In front of the camera he worked on the films Dances with Wolves and Glory. On television he worked on the PBS Documentary The War of 1812 and Military Minute Commercials for Armed Forces Television. Behind the camera he has shot footage used in Bicentennial documentaries on the Battle of New Orleans. Footage filmed by Mr. Erdmann was used in the FOX News Special for Brian Kilmeades book Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans.
Working with Steve Abolt, Mr. Erdmann also shot and edited a series of commercials advertising the Battle of New Orleans Bicentennial event. He also shot and edited a series of commercials for the highly successful Mississinewa 1812 event.
Brilliant, creative, witty, fun-loving, artistic and generous are just some of the fine qualities Betsy discovered in the people involved with this production. She, on the other hand, lives quietly with her Yorkshire terrier in a creepy old house in Madison, Indiana.
Betsy has enjoyed working with equally gifted people as a writer/director/producer for several public television documentaries, ghost writer for five gardening books as well as countless magazine articles, and Director of a county conservation program.
In her spare time she works on restoring her creepy old house.