Mark Holbrook

Kiley Kinnard

Mark Holbrook is recently retired as the executive director for the Marion Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Prior to that, Mark served as the marketing director at the Ohio History Connection for nine years where he also served as Civil War Historian. He has been a consultant for tourism and history-based organizations for 20 years. Mark is a native Ohioan, graduate of The Ohio State University, and an avid student of history. He also is the owner of History is Personal, a consulting firm that specializes in tourism and heritage destination development.

Mark is the editor of the book The Buckeye Vanguard about the 49th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and the author of The Haven: A Light in the Darkness, a novel published in 2023. Mark recently retired from a 28-year career as a Civil War reenactor, serving as a Union officer throughout the country at such places as Gettysburg, Chattanooga, Richmond, and Shiloh. Mark also served as military coordinator for the film Light of Freedom released in the fall of 2013 and had a supporting role in the 2015 film Wings of the Wind in 2015. He also has appeared in WOSU Television’s Columbus Neighborhoods series and on an episode of Mysteries at the Museum on The Travel Channel. Mark served on the Civil War Sesquicentennial Advisory Committee for the state of Ohio, coordinating the opening and closing events for the state’s commemoration of its participation in the war.

Photography during the Civil War

The American Civil War prompted photographers to take their cameras out of their studios in an effort to capture images of the war. The results changed perceptions of war and was a catalyst for an explosion of technology that would continue for decades.

Heritage Tourism: More Than Museums

With boundless technology and more forms of entertainment than anyone can possibly take in, why is it that travelers continue to consistently identify heritage destinations as a major influence when planning their vacations? The answer is the same today as it was in decades and centuries past; an innate curiosity about where we come from and how the people of our past have impacted our lives today. The foundation for a thriving heritage tourism industry exists in virtually every city and town in the country. In this presentation, learn about the trends in heritage travel, success stories and how communities are celebrating and sharing their heritage.

The History of Travel in America

Not so long ago few people traveled far from home. Vacations and travel for leisure were either unaffordable or impractical. The industrial age, new technologies and shifting perspectives on work and leisure changed all of that in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We’ll explore those changes and the impact a traveling population on or economy and culture.

Ohio in the Civil War

With troops, generals, factories and farms, Ohio and Ohioans helped to change the outcome of the Civil War. And that war changed Ohio and its people. We’ll explore those changes and take a look at the contributions of Ohio and its people during America’s Civil War. Its citizens, politicians, soldiers, nurses and businessmen.


Mark Holbrook

Speaker Applications

The Ohio Humanities Speakers Bureau is closed for the rest of 2024 and is not currently accepting applications. Check back later in the year for information about the 2025 Bureau!

Interested organizations can still book talks from our United We Stand Speakers Bureau.

United We Stand Speakers Bureau

Speaker Fee Structure

Non-profit organizations with an annual budget under $150,000 pay a fee of $50.00.

Non-profit organizations with an annual budget over $150,000 pay a fee of $250.00.

Schools (including colleges or universities) and corporate or private entities pay a fee of $400.00.

For any questions, please contact Program Officer Melvin Barnes at