Virginia Hirsch ’67, a UW-Eau Claire English and speech (teaching) graduate, received the 2011 Lucy Beck Memorial Award from Wisconsin Storytellers in recognition of her outstanding contributions to storytelling.
Hirsch, founder and owner of Bayfield Heritage Tours, a company that offers guided historic walking tours of Bayfield, was recognized for her early support of professional storytellers in schools when she served as performing arts coordinator for the Milwaukee Public Schools. Through the Artists and Educators in the Schools program she initiated in 1976, more than 100,000 students annually have had access to high-quality performing artists.
Hirsch, who holds a doctorate in theatre from the University of Kansas and who taught in the UW-Eau Claire music and theatre arts department from 1971-74, also was recognized with the Beck award for her more recent contributions as a “walking storyteller.”
“On our walks we emphasize the human side of history,” Hirsch said. “People sometimes say, ‘Oh, I hated history in school, but I loved your stories.’ That’s because our stories touch people’s hearts.”