Art of Aging: Once Upon a Nation storytelling program

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- If you still haven't crossed off a historic trip to Philadelphia from your bucket list - put on your walking shoes and head to the historic district. You will find knowledge being relayed to visitors through an age-old tradition.

Sandy Mackenzie Lloyd has spent her life studying history, and now through writing she's bringing what she's learned to light.

"The Once Upon a Nation storytelling program is an initiative of Historic Philadelphia and at each storytelling bench, you can hear a true story told by a specially trained storyteller," she said.

You can find one at the Betsy Ross house, which is just one of 13 locations scattered throughout the historic district.

"You have to find a way to bring it to life, create a sense of drama or humor," said Lloyd.

Lloyd has been the writer behind the program since it began in 2005. Her goal, she says, was to uncover those stories not told in your history books.

And she has a particular passion for women's history.

"I feel very strongly about making sure that women's voices are heard and they have proved to be very popular, but also powerful," she said. "Families are here with their young daughters and you see the girls' eyes light up when they hear about these stories of women they've never heard of."

Lloyd says it's a gift to be making history exciting to the next generation. She's put together a book for kids called "Patriots, Pirates, Heroes and Spies."

"So it encourages kids to think about how to develop their own stories, so that they can share them," she said.

Once Upon A Nation Storytelling Benches are free and take place Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 4 pm through Labor Day.

"We really try to show that this is a place with an ongoing story and that we're all part of that ongoing story. What I hope is that people will be inspired to learn more," said Lloyd.
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