Spinning History: Heroines on the Home Front Storytelling & ELA


Spinning History: Heroines on the Home Front

Artist: Nancy Bell
Type: Performance|Remote
Art Form: Storytelling & ELA|Visual Arts|History, Math, Science
Grade Level: 3 - 12
Scheduling Request

For more than twenty years, storyteller, historian, and hand-spinner Nancy Bell has been delighting audiences all over New England at libraries, schools, museums, and festivals with her fun, hands-on, Historical “Edu-tainment.” Her “Spinning History” program is a visual arts and women’s history performance about the role the art of spinning played in the American Revolution. Dressed in carefully researched, hand-sewn, historically accurate clothing, she demonstrates three kinds of spinning from “the Great Wheel” to the “drop spindle” and sings propaganda songs, used during the Colonial Revolution, to entice young female rebels to learn to spin. Students learn that true “Independence” came about in part because women were instrumental in creating and replacing the existing textile economy in the colonies by learning to spin, something not many women did before the war.

Program available in person, live online, or as a pre recorded video including one virtual artist visit.

Length: 45 minutes
Audience Limit: 300
Curriculum Connection: Colonial Era Commerce, Spinning, Textiles, U.S. History, US. Revolutionary War, Women's History

Video: Remote Arts Learning Showcase (Nancy begins at 42:06)

Single Performance: $600
Additional Performances: $480
Travel: $50 per day
Video Program (one week access+ one virtual artist visit): $600
Additional Artist Visit (30 min): $150
Pricing may vary for weekends/out-of-school time
Processing Fee of $30 added to all contracts

Live Online

School sets up link for remote meeting and makes the artist a co-host. Screen share must be enabled. Artist may need to sign on 20-30 minutes prior to the meeting to check sound levels. A representative from the school must be on the call to facilitate Q+A and mute students as needed. Please introduce the performer as an Arts for Learning Massachusetts artist.


Pre Recorded Video
School has access to the video for one week unless otherwise stated in contract. Do not distribute video link outside of the agreed upon parties. Downloads are prohibited. Please introduce the performer as an Arts for Learning Massachusetts artist.  




  • 1 reserved parking space
  • 6x8 foot performance space, however larger is better.
  • If there is a sound system required by the venue, Nancy will bring her own radio mic, but will need use of venue/school’s speakers.

Arrival time before performance: 60 minutes

Strike time: 30 minutes

Time needed between performances: 15 minutes.

Teachers should play an active role in ensuring appropriate audience behavior and are requested to sit with their classes. Teachers are further requested not to correct papers during the program. It is distracting to the performers and, we believe, gives students the wrong message about audience courtesy.

Please introduce the performer as an Arts for Learning Massachusetts artist.

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