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Tiny Histories

Author: Pillow Fort Studios

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If your life were a stretch of highway, what people, places and things would you hang historical markers on? Tiny Histories tells these stories. Because stories are what we're made of.
10 Episodes
The Hodges Effect

The Hodges Effect


This episode starts with the teeniest tiny object that Tiny Histories has ever covered: particles of dust. Art museum dust, to be exact. Back in the day, Sean Miller had a job cleaning dust from the art at the Seattle Art Museum. In true artist form, he worked with the medium he had at his disposal and followed it to see where it took him—in this case, into the strange but true history of a woman named Ann Hodges, up into space, and back down to Earth again, deeper into his own family history. Don't forget to sign the petition to have November 30th declared International Meteorite Awareness Day for Ann Hodges! And to learn more, check out this panel discussion about the Hodges Effect that took place in October of 2021. 
The Paper Lined Shack

The Paper Lined Shack


When composer Jeff Beal (House of Cards, Carnivale, Pollock) originally found the diary of his great grandmother Della, he and his wife Joan were bowled over by the story it told: a first-hand account of a woman who was widowed and raising six kids on a farm in the early 1900's. Something about the matter of fact way she wrote of what seemed like incredible suffering and the efficiency of her words stood out to Jeff and Joan. They thought they should do something with it musically. But they were busy raising kids and the diary was placed back in its box. Twenty years later, Jeff was commissioned to write a piece and remembered the diary. This is the story of how a young widow's life story came to be sung by a Grammy-winning soprano over 100 years later.
When their family Gulf Coast vacation home was blown away by Hurricane Carla in 1961, Jennifer Vacca's grandpa had a great solution: He would move one of the buildings from the family business onto the now empty lot and they'd turn it into the new vacation house. And so, the Bayhouse was born. Six decades, multiple generations, and untold numbers of hurricanes later, it's still standing. And it's played a central role in the life of Jenny's family, and in her life in particular. Hear a story about the only funeral home we know of that's in the business of life. 
It's time that I revealed my true identity: I am an agent for the Greater Seattle Bureau of Fearless Ideas. Oh--you're not familiar with the Bureau? Well that's okay, because you're about to learn all about them and the amazing work that they do in this BFI mega episode! It features seven stories, some of them from a Tiny Histories workshop with BFI students, and some of them from BFI's grownup leaders. You'll travel from Seattle to Thailand and Ethiopia and back again. You'll learn about religions and cultures, and encounter Robert Frost and a significant penguin. There are fireworks, road trips with a dog named Blue, and a mysterious locket washed up on the shore by the sea. And best of all, you'll meet this community of creative, kind, and fearless people.Storytellers include BFI students, Judah, Rahma, and Eka and BFI staffers, Faith Eakin, Chris Robinson, and Bryan Wilson.
The Moon Museum

The Moon Museum


During  the 1960s, just after the Apollo 11 mission had taken Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the surface of the moon, a rogue group of artists, including Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol, were hatching a plan. If they were successful, they'd smuggle an entire museum of contemporary art onto the moon. In this episode, Jade Dellinger,  Director of the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at  Florida SouthWestern State College talks about how the idea for the Moon Museum started at Max's Kansas City, and how, with the help of an organization called Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), it turned into a master plan that ultimately worked. Dellinger also tells his own story, and how Rauschenberg and the Moon Museum changed the course of his life. 
Of Pizza and Identity

Of Pizza and Identity


Moments of self discovery--those big "a-ha!" moments where we finally wrap our heads around some truth we've been bread-crumbing down the trail--often happen during challenging times, or when some new perspective is suddenly and unavoidably shoved in our face. But sometimes, we gain a new understanding of who we are because we see ourselves in someone else. And if we're really lucky, we get to experience these moments with friends and community. And if we're really, really lucky, we get to discover who we are with pizza. Such was the case for a young Jess Clark. In this episode, hear the story of how a restaurant  called Back Road Pizza was integral to his coming out trans as a young person, and how the place still plays a role in his life as a grown up and a parent.
Sometimes, the story is about the absence of a thing, or the loss of a thing. That's the story for over 500 million people all over the world--including people in the United States--when it comes to menstrual products. Not having access to this small thing causes people to lose days of school, to lose wages from their jobs; it robs them of their agency and often alters the course of their lives in major ways. Days for Girls is an organization that is working to change this situation by providing people with menstrual kits that can be used for years at a time. In this episode of the podcast, we travel to Nairobi, Kenya where mother and daughter Christine Khamasi and Patricia Ayuma tell inspiring stories of how this small thing changed their lives for the better, both personally and professionally.  See photos of Christine and Patricia and more at
Even the tchotchkes on our desks have stories behind them. Especially if that desk happens to be in the art studio of Jack Massing, one half of the conceptual art duo, the Art Guys. Jack is a kind of connoisseur of found objects. And in this episode of Tiny Histories, he tells the story of one such found object that he's had for over forty years, how it helped form who he became as an artist, and how its meaning has changed for him over the course of his life.Read this great retrospective on the Art Guys in Glasstire, which also happens to be an obituary for the other half of the duo, Michael Galbreth. To learn how you can advocate for indigenous people, please visit the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, the Native American Rights Fund, or Cultural Survival. 
In the inaugural episode of the podcast, we go on a hunt for buried treasure inside of a suburban home, following clues left behind by the recently deceased. Dr. Kim Corson tells the tale of how she was sure that her dying father, with whom she'd had a difficult relationship, had given away a precious piece of jewelry. After he passed, she was shocked to find herself literally digging up treasure he'd left behind in his home, leading to a kind of unbelievable discovery.Find out more about Kim on her website. And, since you've clearly got great taste in podcasts, check out the Dr. Kimcast.
Hear what's coming up in the first season of Tiny Histories, a new podcast from Pillow Fort Studios about the big stories behind the small things in our lives.
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