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History Detectives: Luxury Liner Picture Frame; Nazi Spy Toys; Woolworth Signs

Airs Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Cousins Robert Martorana and Cathy McIsaac ask HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray to find out if this odd-looking frame that belongs to their grandmother is really made from a piece of the Titanic’s grand staircase banister.

HISTORY DETECTIVES is devoted to exploring the complexities of historical mysteries, searching out the facts, myths and conundrums that connect local folklore, family legends and interesting objects. Traditional investigative techniques, modern technologies, and plenty of legwork are the tools the HISTORY DETECTIVES team of experts uses to give new - and sometimes shocking - insights into our national history.

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Discover where all the stories came from on the HISTORY DETECTIVES interactive map.

Cousins Robert Martorana and Cathy McIsaac ask HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray to find out if an odd-looking frame from their grandmother’s shelf is really made from a piece of the Titanic’s grand staircase banister.
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Above: Cousins Robert Martorana and Cathy McIsaac ask HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray to find out if an odd-looking frame from their grandmother’s shelf is really made from a piece of the Titanic’s grand staircase banister.

Matt Flynt asks HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi to find out whether these signs were part of the scene at the Winston-Salem lunch counter sit-ins, an early victory for Civil Rights.
Enlarge this image

Above: Matt Flynt asks HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi to find out whether these signs were part of the scene at the Winston-Salem lunch counter sit-ins, an early victory for Civil Rights.

Did a Nazi spy buy these toy soldiers? Jim Wark asks HISTORY DETECTIVES Eduardo Pagán to find out.
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Above: Did a Nazi spy buy these toy soldiers? Jim Wark asks HISTORY DETECTIVES Eduardo Pagán to find out.

The hosts of the program are a high-energy group of renowned experts in the world of historical investigations. Their expertise ranges from architecture, popular culture and sociology to archeology, collectibles and genealogy.

Wes Cowan is an independent appraiser and auctioneer; Elyse Luray is independent appraiser and expert in art history; Gwendolyn Wright is a professor of architecture, planning and preservation, and professor of history, Columbia University; Tukufu Zuberi is a professor of sociology and director of the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and Eduardo Pagan is the Bob Stump Endowed Professor of History at Arizona State University.

Each hour-long episode of HISTORY DETECTIVES features three investigations that delve into family legends, local folklore and stories behind potentially extraordinary objects in everyday American homes, cities and small towns. Follow the twists and turns of each investigation and find out more about the historical events that shaped America.

"Luxury Liner Picture Frame; Nazi Spy Toys; Woolworth Signs" (Season 10) - In this episode, HISTORY DETECTIVES steps into a family dispute: Was this picture frame crafted from the staircase banister of the Titanic, the Lusitania or neither?

Then Tukufu Zuberi wonders whether two Woolworth signs were part of the scene at the 1960 Winston-Salem lunch-counter sit-ins.

And for 70 years, toy soldiers have haunted their owner with a question: Was the father of his childhood friend a Nazi spy?

Video

Preview: History Detectives: Luxury Liner Picture Frame; Nazi Spy Toys; Woolworth Signs

Your browser does not support this object. Content can be viewed at actual source page: http://video.kpbs.org/video/2262007335

Watch History Detectives - August 7, 2012 on PBS. See more from WNIT Specials.

Above: HISTORY DETECTIVES steps into a family dispute: Was this picture frame crafted from the staircase banister of the Titanic, the Lusitania or neither? Then Tukufu Zuberi wonders whether two Woolworth signs were part of the scene at the 1960 Winston-Salem lunch-counter sit-ins. And for 70 years, toy soldiers have haunted their owner with a question: Was the father of his childhood friend a Nazi spy?

Video

History Detectives: Season 10 Preview

Your browser does not support this object. Content can be viewed at actual source page: http://video.kpbs.org/video/2249153139

Watch Season 10 Preview on PBS. See more from History Detectives.

Video

Submit Your Mysteries To History Detectives

Above: Do you have an object that you think may have played a starring role in American history but don't quite know how? Why not give the HISTORY DETECTIVES a crack at it!