Why are pencils painted yellow?

What is a battledore?

Why didn’t students recite the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools until after 1892?

Join Dave Downs as he answers these fascinating questions and many more.  He will discuss slate pencils, the hornbook, the battledore, the primer, 19th century school  houses, student punishments, and many other interesting topics related to olde time schooling.

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Always entertaining and enlightening, Dave Downs acquaints his audience with unique, fascinating and extraordinary medical techniques practiced during the 18th and 19th century.  His medical presentation is a memorable experience that you won’t find anywhere else. 

Recipient of the “Best Exhibitor Award” at the New England History Festival, Dave is a retired school teacher with a Master’s Degree in Creative Arts in Education.  He belongs to the Living History Association, Olde Colony Civil War Round Table and Rehoboth Minutemen.



The Marvelous Amusing Quack Medicine Show

Olde Time Schooling


“Downs, who displayed an irrepressible personality and exuberance, both entertained and educated some two dozen attendees who listened to him, describe how everyday Americans and…soldiers dealt with life’s unpredictability – during an era when modern science was struggling to keep pace with the human condition.”

Charles Winokoor for the Taunton Daily Gazette

“I have already had several great comments about…” your program. “I would definitely pass along your information to other historical groups in the area.”

Freetown Historical Society


Traveling to Your Location

Day or Evening Presentations



The Marvelous Amusing Quack Medicine Show

“Dave Downs was entertaining and informative. If you want to learn about medical practices in the 18th & 19th century, and have a few laughs, you should see his show.”

Weymouth Historical Society Facebook Page

“The feedback was positive and enthusiastic. We always enjoy your programs.”

Friends of the Taunton Library

“Thank you again for giving your 19th century ‘Marvelous Amusing Quack Medicine Show’ here at Old Colony last Saturday afternoon. Everyone had a wonderful time, and we hope it will please you to know that you and your program were featured on the front page of the Taunton Daily Gazette!”

Old Colony Historical Society


Review . . . 

“I strategically placed Dave at the beginning of the event because I knew that he would let everyone know that it was alright to have some fun.  He delivered as expected. His engaging and friendly manner was well received by the authors, librarians, historians and other people who were in attendance. They responded by giving him a thunderous ovation.”

John Horrigan

New England History Festival