Soldiers run onshore from a boat during WWII

Welcome to Historian Speakers Bureau

Lectures and Presentations

How it Works

Choose one of 17 topics to be presented virtually, via zoom, or in-person by one of our world-class historians to your staff, clients or even family and friends. Presentations run for one hour and include a Q&A session with the historian. Two weeks ahead of your presentation date, you’ll receive an email introduction to your historian along with suggested reading. 

To schedule a Historian Speakers Bureau presentation or for additional information, contact us at or call 504-528-1944 x 458.

Historian Speakers Bureau


African Americans in World War II

This topic will examine the African American experience of segregation before the war, and explain how war provided new opportunities and raised expectations for African Americans. The experiences of African Americans in military training, service, and combat including civilians on the home front will be examined, setting the stage for postwar desegregation of the military and the civil rights movement.

Women in World War II

This topic will examine the military service experiences of women, how the war changed the roles of women within the American economy and society, and how these experiences initiated the postwar women’s liberation movement.

The Arsenal of Democracy: American Industry and Victory in World War II

This topic will examine the role American industry and home front played in the Allied victory, and how the nation mobilized its manpower and natural resources to create what President Franklin Roosevelt called the “mighty arsenal of democracy.”

Popular Culture in World War II

This topic will examine how the war and popular culture intersected in America. The roles of patriotism and propaganda to mobilize the citizenry will be examined with specific examples in movies, radio, music, newspapers, and other media.

Leadership in World War II

This topic will examine key leaders in the American government, military, and private sector, showing how they contributed to Allied victory through political, military, and economic strategies and decisions taken from boardrooms to the battlefields. This lecture can be tailored to address strategic military/political/industrial leaders or custom-made to discuss tactical level commanders from various campaigns.

The Road to Tokyo: War in the Pacific

Designed to reflect the museum’s “Campaigns of Courage” exhibit, this topic focuses on the conflict between the US and Japan in the Pacific. It will address the existing tensions between the two countries leading to the events at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the brutal nature of war in the Pacific, and the difficulties of fighting and operating in such an expansive area on the fringes of empire.

The Atomic Bomb

This topic will examine the race to build the bomb that led to the American Manhattan Project, the major scientific and military challenges faced in building the bomb, and the decision to use the bomb against Japan at the war’s end.

The Road to Berlin: War in Europe

Designed to reflect the museum’s “Campaigns of Courage” exhibit, this topic will examine the story of the American military’s major campaigns in Europe against Nazi Germany from 1942-1945, including the Allied strategy through the campaigns in North Africa, Italy, France, and into the German homeland.

D-Day in Normandy

This topic will focus upon the Allied landings on D-Day in Normandy. The preparations, planning, specific events, and highlights of June 6, 1944 will be featured, explaining why this battle was the fight the Allies had to win for victory in World War II.

Liberation and the Legacy of World War II

This topic will examine how WWII continues to shape our modern world by examining its legacies regarding politics, genocide, civil rights, economic arrangements, and science and technology.

Louisiana in World War II

This topic will tell the story of Louisiana’s special experience during wartime and focuses on the state’s contributions to the defeat of fascism and the Allied victory through industrial output, military service, and home front labor.

The National World War II Museum

This topic will tell the story of The National World War II Museum, including its original inspiration from the Higgins boats built in New Orleans for the war, to the Museum’s founding as the D-Day Museum by the late Dr. Stephen Ambrose, and the Museum’s expansion and plans for the future.

Asian American Experience in World War II

This topic will examine the contributions of Asian Americans to the war effort, the experiences of Japanese Americans with wartime incarceration, and the impact of the war on Asian American communities.

The Latino Experience in World War II

This topic will examine the contributions of Latinos and Latinas to the war effort, the impact of the war on these communities, and the impact of the war on civil and political rights.

The Native American Experience in World War II

This topic will examine briefly the experiences of Native American peoples with the US government prior to World War II, then cover their contributions to the war effort, especially the role played by the Code Talkers, and the impact of the war on Native American communities.

The Jewish American Experience World War II

This topic will examine the experiences of Jewish Americans with immigration and antisemitism prior to World War II, their contributions to the war effort, and the impact of the war and the Nazi genocide on Jewish American communities.

The Holocaust

This lecture will give a brief overview of Nazi racial ideology and explain how it played out on the ground in Eastern Europe in two phases: the Holocaust by bullets and the mechanized murder of the Jewish population in extermination camps. Other groups targeted for extermination such as Sinti, Roma, and the mentally and physically disabled may also be examined upon request.

Historian Speakers Bureau



Michael S. Bell, PhD (COL, USA, Ret.)

Mike Bell is the Executive Director of the Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy. Commissioned in Armor following graduation from the US Military Academy at West Point, he is a combat veteran, historian, and strategist who has served at every level from platoon through theater army, as well as with US Central Command, the Joint Staff, the West Point faculty, and the National Defense University. As a civilian faculty member at the National Defense University, he also served details to the Office of the Secretary of State and as a National Security Council Senior Director and Special Assistant to the President of the United States. He holds a MA and a PhD in American history from the University of Maryland, College Park and a MS in national security strategy from the National Defense University, where he was a distinguished graduate of the National War College. His monograph on the role of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was published by the Strategic Studies Institute. His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, two awards of the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star, Joint Civilian Service Commendation Award, Joint Staff Badge, and Combat Action Badge.


Jason Dawsey, PhD

Jason Dawsey, PhD, is a Research Historian at the Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy, where he researches the service records of WWII veterans and writes their biographies for family members. A native of Columbia, Mississippi, he received his PhD in 2013 from the University of Chicago and has taught at the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. 
Beyond his research on World War II, his interests include the history of the European Left, debates about the impact of technology on modern life, and the history of Holocaust consciousness. Dawsey co-edited (with Günter Bischof and Bernhard Fetz) The Life and Work of Günther Anders: Émigré, Iconoclast, Philosopher, Man of Letters and is the author of “After Hiroshima: Günther Anders and the History of Anti-Nuclear Critique,” in Understanding the Imaginary War: Culture, Thought, and Nuclear Conflict, 1945-1990.
Selected Articles:
The Art of Perseverance: The Story of the Search for First Lieutenant Loren Hintz
Touring with the Wolf Pack Band: Dave Brubeck and World War II
The Italian Resistance and the Ardeatine Caves Massacre
Where Murder Was a Way of Life: The Mauthausen Concentration Camp

Jason Dawsey


Steph Hinnershitz joined the Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy as a Historian in June 2021. Before coming to The National WWII Museum, she held teaching positions at Valdosta State University in Georgia, Cleveland State University in Ohio, and the US Military Academy at West Point. She received her PhD in American History in 2013 from the University of Maryland and specializes in the history of the Home Front during World War II. She has published books and articles on Asian American history, including Race, Religion, and Civil Rights: Asian Students on the West Coast, 1900-1968 and A Different Shade of Justice: Asian American Civil Rights in the South. Her most recent book, Japanese American Incarceration: The Camps and Coerced Labor during World War II, was recently published with the University of Pennsylvania Press. Her research has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, West Point, the Social Science Research Council, the Library of Congress, and the US Army Heritage and Education Center, among others.


Jeremy Collins

As a student pursuing his history degree at the University of Missouri, Jeremy Collins joined The National WWII Museum in 2001 as an intern with the Collections & Exhibits Department. In 2008, he moved to the Travel & Conference Department, which saw him scout, lead, or manage tours all over the world including the Philippines, the Mediterranean, England, and Northwest Europe. 
A member of the Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy, Collins also oversees the creation, planning, marketing, and execution of many of the Museum marquee public programs, including book launches, distinguished lectures, symposia, and the Museum’s annual International Conference on World War II.  
Selected Articles:
"Everyone Has a Katrina Story”: 15 Years of Reflection
Private Joseph Pantillion Martínez: Medal of Honor Series
Operation Manna-Chowhound: Deliverance from Above


Jennifer Popowycz, PhD

Jennifer Popowycz is the Leventhal Research Fellow at the Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy. She received her PhD in History from Louisiana State University in 2021 and specializes in the Nazi occupation of Eastern Europe. She has written articles and presented research on Ukrainian displaced persons in postwar Germany, the impact of total war and occupation policies on civilians in Eastern Europe, the production of art by Holocaust survivors, and the transformation of the European Economic Community into the European Union. Her contribution to the edited volume The German-Soviet War, 1941-1945 examines the radicalization of Nazi forced labor policies and the experience of Ukrainian forced laborers during World War II. Her research has been supported by the Auschwitz Jewish Center, the International Ukrainian School, the Southern Slavic Studies Association, and the T. Harry Williams Dissertation Fellowship.


John Curatola, PhD

John Curatola is the Military Historian at the Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy. A Marine Corps officer of 22 years, he graduated from the University of Nebraska and is a veteran of Operation Provide Hope in Somalia, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the 2005 Indian Ocean tsunami relief effort. He holds masters’ degrees in both American and Military History. With a PhD from the University of Kansas, John’s research focuses upon World War II, airpower, and the early Cold War period. Previously he taught history at the US Army’s Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. His first book Bigger Bombs for a Brighter Tomorrow addressed the nature of the American atomic monopoly with his latest entitled, Autumn of Our Discontent, assessing US national security policy development in 1950. Additionally, his works are available in compendium books, popular magazines, and academic journals with his many presentations available for viewing on CSPAN and YouTube.


Mark Calhoun, PhD

Mark earned his PhD in History from the University of Kansas in 2012 and is the author of General Lesley J. McNair: Unsung Architect of the U.S. Army (University Press of Kansas, 2015), the first comprehensive military life of General Lesley J. McNair. The book reveals previously unpublished details of McNair's forty-year career and assesses the impact of McNair’s views and actions on America's mobilization for and involvement in World War II. Mark's current research interests center on General William H. Simpson, commander of Ninth US Army, and Ninth Army’s operations during the campaign in Northwest Europe from 1944 to 1945. A career U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter pilot and war planner, Dr. Calhoun retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2008, after which he served for fourteen years as an associate professor on the faculty of the U.S. Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth.