Instructional Programs

Simon offers a variety of fun, interactive, hands-on programs that bring history to life for museums, schools, and other groups. These include:

Sing Along Music Programs

These can focus on one historical period (pick any from 1588 to the present), or cover a range of time periods. Simon teaches the refrains of sea chanties and other sing-along material to his audiences, making his programs an unforgettable experience!

Simon works the fiddle and other instruments into the program. Simon has tailored his musical programs to his clients, such as:

  • 400 Years of American Military Songs. (Tryon Palace, New Bern, NC)
  • Sailing and Whaling Music of Scotland (Aberdeen Maritime Museum; Discovery Point, Dundee)
  • Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Songs of the American Civil War (various museums)
  • Songs of Piracy and Colonial Seafaring (NC Maritime Museum, Beaufort, NC; and many others)
  • Songs and Dances of 1812 (Niagara League, Erie, PA)
  • Music of Old California (various institutions)

Hands-on Navigation Programs

Using reproduction quadrants, astrolabes, traverse boards and other tools of the trade, Simon teaches the history and the underlying principles of navigation at sea as practiced during the Age of Exploration. This program has been very successfully presented to children and to adults in schools and museums from Kamehameha Schools in Hawai’i to museums in Scotland, Sweden, and Denmark. Each student actually learns to use the different instruments, and learns not only the history, but also the math and science that goes into navigation at sea. This program can be presented in as little as an hour, but can be extended in a day by including multiple historical periods, and letting the students make their own quadrants out of card stock.

For clients in Hawai’i, Simon has developed an additional course on the navigation methods of traditional seafarers of Polynesia and Micronesia. This can be offered as a stand-alone program, or combined with a European-style navigation program.

Country Dance

Simon can teach favorite country dances from 1651, 1776, 1812, or 1861; teaching the figures, then prompting the dancers as he plays the music on the violin.

Cannon Loading

Using Simon’s full-size working 3-pounder, students learn the historically-accurate and safe method of loading and firing a muzzleloading cannon. The 3-pounder, which is about six feet long overall, is a perfect size for children. This activity is suitable for any historical period from 1588 to 1865.

Important Note: The hands-on programs using cannon are only practical within driving distance of Eastern North Carolina due to those pesky airline regulations about packing cannon in one’s cabin luggage.

Infantry Drill

Using Simon’s “drill sticks”, up to thirty students at a time can learn marching and facing movements and parts of the basic Manual of Arms from 1609, 1776, or 1865.

Clients often combine one or more of these programs at different times during a one-day or weekend event. Simon usually performs and teaches in the clothing of the historical period chosen.