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Huell Howser: Preserving history, one visit at a time

October 7, 2011
Huell Howser visits Pete Weitzner’s class at Dodge College. Howser will return to Chapman Oct. 13 to give a free public talk.

Pay attention to the stories of ordinary folks and remember that history happens in the everyday places down the street as much as in the headlines and “doings” of world leaders, veteran California broadcaster Huell Howser told Chapman students during a daylong visit Thursday.

It was all part of the golden advice dispensed by Howser in classroom talks to film, broadcast journalism and history students. Howser shared both the inside stories behind his work and the philosophy driving his beloved PBS program California’s Gold and others like Visiting with Huell Howser.

“It makes history come alive and real. They’re not just words and photographs of dead people in books. They’re real stories about real people. That’s what history is. That’s what our whole series is about. As a history major I firmly believe, or what I hope to accomplish with this series, is that (viewers) are at least in the history tent. They don’t have to be history majors. They don’t have to become obsessed with photographs or whatever. It is possible to learn and be entertained at the same time. In order to learn, you don’t have to be bored,” Howser told students in History 333, Images of American History taught by Jennifer D. Keene, Ph.D., professor, Department of History.

Howser’s classroom visits were in conjunction with the donation of his papers and copies of all his programs to Leatherby Libraries. He’ll speak again at a free event open to the public at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, in Memorial Hall.

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