Oklahoma’s gateway to humanities education, community conversation, and cultural experiences.

Curiosity Fest

Oklahoma Humanities presents the inaugural Curiosity Fest, an annual event designed to bring humanities scholarship to the adult general public in fun, vibrant, interactive ways. The one-day festival takes place on Saturday, October 20 at the Civic Center Music Hall in downtown Oklahoma City. Participants will attend concurrent programs throughout the day and an evening presentation will feature Jad Abumrad, founder of NPR’s Radiolab

*Tickets on sale August 8, 2018


$20 - 18 years and under or current student ID
$30 - general admission (daytime sessions & Jad)
$100 - VIP reception (general admission PLUS meet & greet Jad)

*Convenience charges apply


We'll be opening our doors just as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure will be ending at 11:00 and there should be plenty of parking available. In addition to parking lots and garages, a limited number of spaces alongside the Civic Center building will be coned for our earliest arrivals and are accessible from the west on Colcord and Couch Drives.


Box Office Opens and Welcome Activities Begin (food samples, vendor booths)

Adam and Kizzie
Meinders Hall of Mirrors

A popular musical duo, present examples of African-American music, some of which has deep roots planted right in downtown Oklahoma City. Enjoy Early Roots Music, Negro Spirituals, Blues, Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Rock and Roll, and Funk Hip-Hop.

"I Published It, It Must Be Good!" 
Meinders Hall of Mirrors 

Five published authors have ten minutes to pitch their books. Full Circle Bookstore will be on hand to sell them to enthusiastic readers.
Anita Arnold - Oklahoma City’s African American Education 
Sharon Bishop-Baldwin - Becoming Brave: Winning Marriage Equality in Oklahoma and Finding our Voice 
Carla Goble - Social Studies for Infants and Toddlers: Activities to Develop a Sense of Self 
Russell Lawson - The Land Between the Rivers: Thomas Nuttall’s Ascent of the Arkansas, 1819 
Anita May - Patriot Priests, French Catholic Clergy and National Identity in World War I 

"I See Dead People"
Freede Little Theater 

Meet Mark Twain in person! Ask him questions! Experience this rare opportunity to visit with an important dead person.

Dan Snell, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Oklahoma 

"Head Talk" 
Joel Levine Rehearsal Room 

Three presenters vie for the coveted Curious Cat award. Hear their 15-minute, humanities-rich talks and vote for the most interesting, educational, and relevant presentation. The three session titles are: Earthrise: The Religious Politics of a Stamp and the Role of Conspiracy in the Era of Late 1960s Fake News and its Implications for the Social Media Age; The Launch of Okie Comics Magazine; and Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts, and the Meaning of Life.

Bobby Griffith, Jr., University of Oklahoma
Jeff Provine, OU, OSU, OC, OCCC
John Granger, University of Central Oklahoma

"Music and Memory"
Vinita Cravens Lounge 

An engaging look at some of history’s best uses of music to provide a potent memory enhancement device.

Beth Fleming, Oklahoma City University

“An Unauthorized Scholarly Tour of the Museum of the Bible”
South Lobby 

The audience will given an inside look at the Museum of the Bible with hundreds of photos and short videos. Learn to navigate the controversies the museum has spawned both in the national press and the academic field of biblical studies.

Jill Hicks-Keeton, University of Oklahoma

"Late Night Humor and Geopolitics-the Interactive Database"
Balcony Lounge 

Explores the types of jokes told over time within political and geographical contexts. Over 55,000 jokes allow the audience to explore how humor both reflects and informs public attitudes.

Darren Purcell, University of Oklahoma

"Me and My Shadow: Using Play to Develop Creative Ideas"
Meinders Hall of Mirrors 

This hands-on session is a great way to relax and have fun and allows time to do away with pressures and constraints by playing with shadows. In a world that is so full of noise, don’t forget what it is like to be a kid.

Bonner Slayton, Moore Norman Technology Center

"I See Dead People"
Freede Little Theater 

Anna Laura Hill accompanied children on the orphan trains that traveled to every state in the United States from 1854 to 1929. Orphans from New York City were exhibited at train stations to potential adoptive parents in an effort to improve their lives. Learn about her role in this unique initiative.

Alison Moore, National Orphan Train Complex Museum and Research Center

“Thinking Inside the Box: Comic Books from the Bayeux Tapestry and Beyond!”
Joel Levine Rehearsal Room 

Explains why comics are the most innovative form of storytelling and have changed the way we understand narrative, art, and literature. This unique form of narrative technology captures the experience of being an American like no other form of literature.

Josh Grasso, East Central University

“Life at 100 Years of Age: ‘The Centenarian Play’”
Vinita Cravens Lounge 

A group reading of an oral history project that poses questions about the quality of life at 100 year of age. Is it all negative? What can centenarians teach us about living well? After all, it’s not how long you live but how well you live long!

Alex Bishop, Tanya Finchum, Julie Pearson-Little Thunder, Oklahoma State University

“The Electoral College: Keep it or Drop it?”
Balcony Lounge 

The audience will be involved in a discussion of this constitutional, unique election tool, its utility, its purpose, its mechanics, and its retention.

Aaron Mason, Northwestern Oklahoma State University

In the Light Bulb Room 
Mezzanine Suite  

A conversational forum on race and social issues. It takes its central motif from Oklahoma City’s own Ralph Ellison’s novel, Invisible Man. This session creates a zone of open exploration, multicultural goodwill, and respectful conversation.  

Michael Eric Owens, Ralph Ellison Foundation  

“OKC Story SLAM”
Meinders Hall of Mirrors 

Presents a selection of the best stories and storytellers from the past two years of this local, live, monthly, open-mic  event. Inspired by the famous New York venue and public radio program, The Moth, OKC’s Story SLAM presents memorable and powerful stories, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious.

Tracy Floreani, Oklahoma City University
Molly O’Connor, Oklahoma Arts Council
+ some mighty fine storytellers

“I See Dead People”
Freede Little Theater 

Will Rogers is on hand to talk a bit about his Indian Territory/Oklahoma background, his experience in show business, and his ideas about economics and politics. Meet this performer, journalist, cowboy, and social commentator.

Doug Watson, Professor Emeritus, Oklahoma Baptist University

“Lewis Hine: Photographs of Child Labor”
Mezzanine Suite 

Shares documentary evidence of child labor from 1916 including many from Oklahoma. Bring your own photos and capture their importance through the Storycorps App.

June Owens, Collin College, Frisco Texas

“Civics 101: Oklahoma Engaged Online Quiz”
Joel Levine Rehearsal Room 

A collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS, KCCU, and State Impact Oklahoma. Our knowledge of Oklahoma politics and the legislative and electoral processes will be tested. Become informed as we near the 2018 general election!

Joe Wertz, senior reporter and managing editor for StateImpact Oklahoma and editor of Oklahoma Engaged
Claire Donnelly, KGOU Radio, University of Oklahoma

“Osiyo: Voices of the Cherokee People”
Vinita Cravens Lounge

Presents several short documentaries that showcase Cherokee language and culture. Learn how the language of the largest American Indian tribe in the nation was once destined for extinction, but is now progressing toward sustainability.

Roy Boney, Jr.: Manager, Cherokee Language Program
Colleen Thurston, Producer, Osiyo: Voices of the Cherokee People

“The Canadian Connection: Bob Dylan and the Band”
South Lobby

A multimedia presentation that provides an overview of Bob Dylan’s long running relationship with the Canadian-American group, the Band, including amusing highlights from his notorious electric world tour in 1966.

Andrew Wood, University of Tulsa

“BrainBox: Game of Thrones”
Freede Little Theater 

A live podcast recording that explores the television hit series Game of Thrones in the context of history, ethics, government, environmental issues, and gender politics.

Dr. Becky Bruce, Southwestern Oklahoma State University
Dr. Sunu Kodumthara, Southwestern Oklahoma State University
BrainBox Host: Chris Carroll, Oklahoma Humanities

“The Carter Family Music and its effect on American Christianity”
Vinita Cravens Lounge 

This multi-media presentation offers a history of the first family of country music. Learn how American Christian traditions have been preserved and altered by gospel music.

Alvin Turner, Professor Emeritus, East Central University

“Community Remembrance Project”
South Lobby 

The Community Remembrance Project brings the Equal Justice Initiative to Oklahoma. Learn about how our state can identify and recognize its 76 documented lynching victims. Between the Civil War and World War I, thousands of African-Americans were lynched. Learn how lynching reinforced a legacy of racial inequality and what our next steps as Oklahomans might be.

Ben Bates, Langston University

“Do you even Meme? Decoding the Visual Language of Internet Pop Culture”
Balcony Lounge

This program is for you if the language of the internet finds you confused or overwhelmed. Learn how the meme began and persists. Create your own meme in this illustrated presentation.

Jennifer Page, Northwestern Oklahoma State University

Joel Levine Rehearsal Room 

Closing Mingle and Nosh with beer tasting, snacks, and music with Colombian musicians Francisco Venegas and Angelica Pereira

VIP Reception (Ticketed Event)
Meinders Hall of Mirrors 

VIP Reception for 100 to meet Jad Abumrad

Gaylord Auditorium 

Doors open for Jad Abumrad event

Jad Abumrad - "Gut Churn"
Gaylord Auditorium 

Jad Abumrad’s multimedia presentation, “Gut-Churn" shows how curiosity, often manifesting as a gut-wrenching question, leads to creative solutions. Jad Abumrad is the founder of NPR’s Radiolab.