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CANCELLED – The Telling Takes Us Home

August 15 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Sadly, we have had to cancel this evening’s program with Joe McHugh due to illness.  We hope to reschedule and will post updates here and on our facebook page.


Master storyteller, old-time fiddler, and award-winning radio producer Joe McHugh will present “The Telling Takes Us Home: Discovering the Sustaining and Healing Power of Family Stories” at 7pm on Monday, August 15 at the Walter E. Olson Memorial Library.

Remember the story about how Grandpa Sawyer gave his gold watch to a hobo on Christmas Eve? Or the time Aunt Millie she saw her husband’s ghost on the night he was lost at sea? Or what about that quirky way your dad taught you how to drive?

Joe McHugh loves traveling to different regions of the United States to record people telling their family stories. Many of these stories have been featured on programs for public radio including NPR’s Morning Edition, Weekend America, and Inside Appalachia. They have also been heard on the international English-language service of Voice of America.  In “The Telling Takes Us Home”, he invites his listeners along a delightful and fascinating journey of exploration that reveals how family stories reach across cultural and political barriers to help us better understand and appreciate who we are and where we came from.  In this interactive presentation, Joe chronicles his adventures as a “story catcher” and talks about the kinds of family stories we like to tell and why we tell them.

In addition to sharing the stories he has collected, Joe McHugh encourages and advises the audience on how to collect and share their own family stories. What story goes with your favorite heirloom? What challenges did an ancestor face coming to America, escaping the Dustbowl, joining a labor union, or going off to war? Maybe you have a story about a hippie brother or cousin, an ancestor who helped lessen the suffering of others, the family’s teller of tall tales, or family member who found a treasure, or lost one.  All told, it makes for a highly entertaining evening that is sure to captivate.

Funny, sad, sometimes outrageous, Joe McHugh weaves together a complex tapestry of cherished stories that rekindle the imagination and remind us of what it means to be human.

Joe McHugh is a storyteller, musician, writer, radio journalist, and public philosopher who has worked for over thirty years helping young people, organizations, and communities find and tell their own authentic stories. He has collected and published books of traditional folktales from the mountains of Appalachia, produced multicultural festivals, directed a museum, designed a literature camp for children, pioneered the use of radio dramas with young people in the classroom, and produced and hosted programs for public television and public radio. He has presented at numerous national and regional conferences and has served as a project consultant for the California and Pennsylvania Departments of Education, the United States Justice Department, the National Council of Family and Juvenile Court Judges, the National Legal Aid and Defenders Association, and other organizations.

Joe lives in Olympia, Washington, with his wife Paula Blasius-McHugh who is a painter, graphic designer, and musician. Audio stories from Mr. McHugh’s archived public radio series The Telling Takes Us Home, a Celebration of American Family Stories can be heard at www.americanfamilystories.org.


August 15
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Walter E. Olson Memorial Library
203 N. Main St.
Eagle River, WI 54521 United States


Walter E. Olson Memorial Library