PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The newest crop of Philadelphia historymakers and storytellers begin their work this Memorial Day weekend after graduating at a ceremony today at the Betsy Ross House.

Many of this summer’s storytellers will include a special emphasis on the Civil War, to observe its sesquicentennial.

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“We have great stories about Harriet Tubman at the (storytelling) bench,” said Amy Needle, president and CEO of Historic Philadelphia, which employs the reënactors and storytellers.  “Also several Underground Railroad stories as well.”

After an intensive two-week course at the “Benstitute” (named for Philadelphia’s most famous figure of the Revolutionary era), more than 80 actors — many wearing tri-cornered hats instead of mortarboards — received their diplomas at the graduation ceremony.

“It’s a chance for those of us who started out as performers who also have a love of history to meld them together — to entertain as well as educate,” said Arthur Ryan, who will be telling stories at the Second Bank of the United States.

Reported by Karin Phillips, KYW Newsradio 1060