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  • Talks

History Talks

Current programs available

at your location

I partner with you to offer your group historical programs for your adult programming at your location. You and your group will be entertained while discovering the ordinary people from the past who lived extraordinary lives. I’m easy to reach through the Contact or Book Now tab. Let’s work together to meet your programming schedule.

-Dave Lively


Get in touch to see about booking Dave!


Dave will treat your audiences to unique escapes into the history or Rocky Mountain National Park and Northwest Colorado. He will bring new insight to your group with the hidden narratives behind the soaring peaks and plunging canyons.

Talk Details


One Hour plus time for Q&A


No minimum audience size
Ages 9 and older


All parts of Colorado
(Only offering the listed programs on this page at this time)


Email Dave or
call 970-531-1211 for a quote

25% discount on speaker fee to

  • Non-profits
  • Libraries
  • Senior Centers
  • Museums/historic societies
  • Government Agencies

*minimal travel fee outside of Grand County


Lost Lodges of Rocky

A Balance of Wilderness and Hospitality

Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) was once home to more than 30 lodges, but today lodging is limited to outside the Park’s boundaries. What happened to the camps and resorts that used to be in there and what stories did they hold?

Lost Lodges of Rocky explores the transitions in lodging for visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park in the thought provoking search for balance between wilderness and hospitality unique to America’s first automobile-based National Park.

It’s about the people:

  • Meet “Squeaky” Bob Wheeler
  • Early Automobile Travelers
  • Who was Abner Sprague?
  • Where can you sleep in RMNP?

Rocky’s West Side Story

Journeys of Exploration Leading Up to the Formation of Rocky Mountain National Park

Imagine the courage of early settlers to follow Ute trails across the Continental Divide in search of a new home in an unsettled, harsh mountain environment. Or living in a cave, while digging a ditch to divert water out of the Grand River. Learn about the intersection of the Arapho and Ute tribes and early settlers in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Embark on a tour of the recurring themes of survival and success in the past 11,000 years in the high isolated mountain valley. Listen to stories of human nature encountering Mother Nature and be inspired to preserve the wilderness, wildlife and wonder of Rocky Mountain National Park’s west side.

It’s about the people:

  • Ute and Arapaho History
  • Post-Civil War Migration
  • Rocky Mountain National
  • Park Water Diversion
  • Gold Mining

Sisters of Courage

The Harbisons, An Ordinary Family Who Led An Extraordinary Life

Amidst national economic crisis and the harshities of the life in the late 1800s, sisters Kittie and Annie Harbison established a successful homestead and dairy farm at what is now the west entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. From crossing Berthoud Pass to living in the hostile environment of the Rocky Mountains, the sisters persevered through the many challenges of life in the American West. Their story of courage, grit, and determination highlights the contributions of women in history that often go untold. Discover what Colorado life looked like more than a hundred years ago for ordinary women who lived extraordinary lives.

It’s about the people:

  • Women Homesteaders
  • Civil War Veteran
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • National Panic of 1893
  • Dairy Ranching

Cache La Poudre

People, Gunpowder, the River

Flowing between colorful canyon walls and under the riffles and torrents of Poudre Canyon are stories of the Cache la Poudre that stir wonder and enchantment. Venture west of Fort Collins, Colorado along the Cache la Poudre – North Park Scenic Byway to explore Colorado’s only wild and scenic river and one of only three National Heritage Areas in the state.

Gold miner George Pingree and musician Joan Baez may not seem to have not seem to have much in common, but they are just a couple of the remarkable characters whose stories are part of the Poudre.


Who Was the Sculptor in Buckskin?

His Life Was His Art, His Living Was the Love of His Wife, Family, and Hunting in the West

Alexander Phimister Proctor was revered as a premier animal sculptor and artist, capturing depictions of wildlife and subjects of the American West. His iconic works of art can still be found across the United States.

After spending much of his youth hunting and sketching in the Colorado mountain wilderness of the 1870s, Proctor’s talents took him throughout the U.S. and on to Paris and Rome. But Proctor was more than a sculptor and artist. He was a devoted husband, loving father and grandfather, incurable wanderer, and confidant of many prominent figures of his day.

“My love has always been divided. I am eternally obsessed with two deep desires – one, to spend as much time as possible in the wilderness, and the other, to accomplish something worthwhile in art. ” – Proctor

It’s about the people:

  • 1893 Chicago Exposition
  • Hunting with a President
  • Moving a large family around the world
  • World-renowned sculptor that few knew his name


How long are your programs?

Lively Tours and Talks programs are one hour, plus time for questions and answers.

Where will you travel to present a program?

Anywhere in Colorado. I do charge a minimum $50 travel fee, regardless of location outside Grand County.

Can you do a program outdoors?

Family reunions and pre or post wedding groups looking for an activity may request a program around the campfire or other location.
I provide photos and illustrations to pass around.

Who are your audiences?

The programs are designed for audiences aged 9 and older.

What is the minimum audience size required?

There is no minimum.

What equipment do you require from us?

A room that can be darkened, seating, podium or table, projector and screen. If the room is large, a microphone is requested.

What do you provide?

I will supply my Mac laptop and adaptors to connect to your projector cables. I will provide my projector if needed. A USB Flash drive will be available if you prefer that I use your equipment.

Will you offer a program on our local history?

It would not be fair to you to attempt a program beyond my area of expertise. The cultural history of Rocky Mountain National Park connects closely to the history of Colorado, audiences statewide are engaged by these stories… they are about the people!

May children attend your programs?

Certainly, but the programs are directed toward adult audiences.

We are not a non-profit. Will you still present a program?

Of course! Non-profits, libraries and government facilities receive a 25% discount on each program.

Can we get a discount for scheduling two programs?

The price each is the same for one or multiple programs.

Do you offer all of your programs during Women’s History Month of March or only Sisters of Courage?

Any of the programs are available any time of year.

How is the world-renowned Sculptor in Buckskin tied to Grand Lake?

Phimister Proctor’s time in Grand Lake as a boy deeply influenced his career and the rest of his life.


Dave Lively has a phenomenal gift for storytelling! He absolutely brings History to life right before your eyes! I recommend everyone seize any possible opportunity to listen to him and be inspired by his enchanting entertaining style! You will be a better person learning from him!!! I can’t thank you enough!! You preserve and honor our country through sharing the incredible stories of the people!”

Jill W.


Very Interesting – very fluid – very knowledgeable.”

Diane B.