Monday, April 27, 2009

Chautauqua 2009 in Plattsmouth, NE

“Bright Dreams, Hard Times”
America in the Thirties

June 24-28 • Plattsmouth, NE

• Will Rogers
• Franklin Delano Roosevelt
• Zora Neal Hurston
• Huey Long
• Aimee Semple McPherson
• Adult/Children Workshops
• Food/Music
• Historic Homes Tour
• Church Service
• Antique Machinery
• Quilt Show

Tent shows nightly at Rhylander Park • 402-298-8209

Something for Everyone!

History of the Chautauqua

Chautauqua began as a summer school for Sunday School teachers in Chautauqua, New York, in 1874. By the turn of the 20th century, Chautauqua had developed into a nationwide traveling educational and entertainment program. Theodore Roosevelt called Chautauqua “the most American thing in America.”

Traveling Chautauquas in the late 1800s and early 1900s brought the world to rural communities across the nation, including those in Kansas and Nebraska. Chautauqua combined programs of political oratory and lectures about health, science, and the humanities with entertainment, such as opera singers and stage performances of Shakespeare. Well-known speakers and politicians such as William McKinley, Rutherford B. Hayes, William Howard Taft, and William Jennings Bryan toured the Chautauqua circuit. Audiences heard about national issues and discussed their views with their neighbors. For many rural Kansas and Nebraska towns, Chautauqua week was the most important week of the year.

Modern Chautauqua

The Kansas Humanities Council and Nebraska Humanities Council rekindled their states’ Chautauqua traditions in 1984 with modern Chautauquas that use public forum and discussion to focus on a particular historical era. Rather than use contemporary speakers, the modern-day Chautauqua features history professionals portraying famous figures from the past. In the spirit of the original traveling Chautauquas, the Kansas and Nebraska Humanities councils have brought their programs to rural and remote communities that may not have direct access to humanities or cultural centers.

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