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Hoosier History Live is an independently produced new media project about Indiana history, integrating podcasts, website www.HoosierHistoryLive.org, weekly enewsletter, and social media. Its original content comes initially from a live with call in weekly talk radio show hosted by author and historian Nelson Price. You can hear the show live Saturdays from noon to 1 pm ET at WICR 88.7 fm or stream the show live at the WICR HD1 app on your phone, or at our website.


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March 09, 2024

Ellen Munds, a trail-blazer of Storytelling Arts

One series is called "Sharing Hoosier History Through Stories". Another series, about historic landmarks across Indiana, is titled "If These Walls Could Tell". There's also an annual "Liar's Contest" on the opening night of the Indiana State Fair.

Storytelling Arts of Indiana is deeply involved in each of those, and, as Hoosier History Live salutes Women's History Month, we will spotlight a woman who has been a key figure in the nonprofit organization since it was created in the late 1980s.

Ellen Munds, the executive director of Storytelling Arts, is a former children's librarian who, with two co-founders, launched the organization with a festival at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park in 1988 after a year of planning. Ellen, who is retiring on June 30, will be Nelson's guest as we spotlight her and the organization created for the promotion and preservation of stories.

In turning back the pages of Storytelling Arts' own history story, it seems a floatation center in Indianapolis played a key role. According to Ellen, she met future professional storyteller Bob Sander, one of the other co-founders of Storytelling Arts, when he co-owned a local floatation center.

"I would volunteer at the floatation center in exchange for free floats," Ellen recalls. "After I would float, I would sit in a comfortable chair, sip some hot tea and talk with Bob." As a children's librarian at the Carmel Clay Public Library, Ellen had been inspired by a visiting storyteller who performed at a librarians' conference. She described his captivating performance to Bob Sander, who soon shared her enthusiasm for the art form.

The two were joined by Nancy Barton, a third co-founder of what became Storytelling Arts of Indiana, which began as Stories, Inc. before a name change. Bob Sander became its first executive director, with Ellen serving as the program director before following him in the top post in 1996.

Since then, she's been credited with helping develop several popular storytelling series and events, including "If These Walls Could Talk". It's a partnership with Indiana Landmarks that involves commissioning a storyteller to research and develop a story based on an award-winning, restored landmark. Earlier this month, storyteller Celestine Bloomfield of Indianapolis performed a story based on the history of Bottleworks, the downtown entertainment and culinary hub created in the massive, former Coca-Cola Bottling Plant that had opened in 1931.

Another series that Ellen helped launch, "Sharing Hoosier History Through Stories", is a partnership with the Indiana Historical Society that began in 1999. And at a local children's hospital, pairs of storytellers began visiting in 2001 to tell stories at the bedsides of patients.

What about the annual Liar's Contest? It's been a feature of the opening night of the Indiana State Fair since 2009. During our show, Ellen will give listeners a flavor of some of the topics involved with these series, contests and events.

In March, our shows saluting trail-blazers during Women's History Month have included programs in 2022 focusing on Indianapolis novelist Barbara Shoup, the former executive director of the Indiana Writers Center, and acclaimed artist Pamela Bliss, who has created outdoor murals of famous Hoosiers.


New show podcasts are up!

February 17, 2024 - Black firefighters history in Indy Click here for podcast.

For a complete list of show podcasts and show enewsletters, please go to ARCHIVES on our website.

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Your contributions help keep Hoosier History Live on the air, on the web, in your inbox, and in our ARCHIVES!


What Hoosier History Live continues to do for you

  • As a small, independent production group, Nelson Price and Molly Head and their wonderful colleagues still work very hard to bring you the Hoosier History Live new media project.

  • We put on a new live with call in radio show whenever we can!  (We are sometimes pre-empted, but hey, it’s not our radio station and we don’t pay the station’s operating costs. WICR 88.7 fm the Diamond is owned and maintained by the University of Indianapolis. And we sure appreciate the opportunity to do a live broadcast!)

  • We are still making all of our show podcasts available to all, without a paywall. (Though we publish them every few weeks or so to keep our editing costs down.)  And our Hoosier History Live podcasts are basically copies of our live radio show.  

  • Yes, we DO pay for all of our own research and editing, before and after live broadcast. This includes our newsletter, website, podcasts, and social media. Yes, everything we do does come with an expense, including enewsletter, website, and podcast software and we absorb those costs ourselves.

  • So when we ask for money to go into our production company’s budget, this does not mean that we are evil people!

Trivia prizes sought

Our "History Mystery" on air contest continues to be very popular!  If you are an organization or business that would like to contribute tickets or admissions, please contact our host Nelson at nelson@hoosierhistorylive.org or our producer Molly at molly@hoosierhistorylive.org for instructions.

Prizes must fit in a standard business envelope. Hoosier History Live prefers to "snail mail" prizes to our trivia winners. And If prizes are time sensitive, they need to be offered well in advance of the event so that we can get them out in time.


We'd like to thank the following recent individual contributors who make this show possible. For a full list of contributors over the years, visit  Support the Show on our website.

  • Bruce and Julie Buchanan  
  • Sandra Hurt
  • Chuck and Karen Bragg
  • Ken and Luan Marshall
  • Tom Swenson
  • Mike Freeland and Sharon Butsch Freeland
  • Dr. William McNiece
  • Serita Borgeas
  • Richard Stroup in memory of Robert W. Stroup
  • Bill Connor
  • Ann Frick
  • Charlotte Ottinger
  • John and Florence Stanton

Molly Head, executive producer (317) 506-7164 
Nelson Price, host and historian
Corene Nickel, web designer and tech manager

Richard Sullivan and Ryan DeRome, tech consultants
Pam Fraizer, graphic designer

Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support!

Facebook logo links to the Hoosier History Live! page.Acknowledgements to WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Monomedia, Henri Pensis, Maddie Fisher, Austin Cook, and many other individuals and organizations. We are independently produced and are self-supporting through organizational sponsorship and through individual contribution, either online at our yellow button on our newsletter or website, or by U.S. mail. For organizational sponsorship, which includes logos, links, and voiced credits in our podcasts and in our show, please contact Molly Head at (317) 506-7164 or email her at molly@hoosierhistorylive.org.

Donate button.

Your contributions help keep Hoosier History Live on the air, on the web, in your inbox, and in our ARCHIVES!

© 2024 Hoosier History Live. All rights reserved.

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