The staff from Midway Village in Rockford, IL might be able to come up and give a couple of talks, they do outreach programs pretty regularly. They are still new to the whole "steampunk" idea, but they know their Victorian history and they like the idea of steampunk.
Speaking of more general panels: what do people like in convention panels? My experience with these things is limited to academic conference panels and trust me, you don't want to recreate those unless you want to have a panel to cure convention insomnia (and I say this having been a panelist!)
I think a lot of that can be handled by focusing on public speaking skills (something you would think academics have, I know, it baffles me too), hands on examples, demonstrations, and humor. But I've never been to a convention panel I would think is "great." What do successful convention panels have? What should they always avoid?
I have 3 panel suggestions. These are more food for thought than finished ideas. They run some risk of being overly academic (see Capt. Brennan's comment), but done correctly I would hope they could made interesting.
1) Build your own crystal wireless (radio) receiver. An aside - it just struck me how the old term "wireless" has gained renewed usage in the past few years.
2) Demo and discussion of a Telsa style spark gap transmitter. A variation on this would be for someone to give a presentation as Telsa himself, based on his actual writings.
3) How to design a Zeppelin. This would be review of the basic design equations involved and their application. It would address issues such as: How big does the gas bag need to be to lift a particular mass? What is the typical ratio of the mass of the ship to its payload? What are the propulsion requirements as a function of payload?
I am not an expert in any of these areas but would be willing to attempt any one of them. I'd be equally happy to defer to anyone better qualified on any of them.
I would certainly love to see panels on etiquette or a formal tea. Miss Phyllis, I would love a copy of your pamphlet. I believe as people come to this cultyre and are totally new and seeking advice, such a pamphlet would a very valuable aid.