Plainview residents of all ages help to erect the Chautauqua tent for the week-long visit in July 1999. Photo courtesy The Plainview News
Great Plains Chautauqua
This week-long traveling tent show appears
each summer in communities throughout Nebraska and other Great
Plains states. Modeled on the 19th-century chautauquas held in
rural areas, it presents evening programs and daytime
workshops for children and adults, combining education and
entertainment. The evening program is in three segments: a
scholar dressed as a historical figure delivers a monologue in
character; the scholar answers questions from the audience
while remaining in character; and he or she moves out of
character to answer questions as a scholar. At the 1999
Plainview Chautauqua, the figures brought to life in this way
were peace advocate Jane Addams, philanthropist Andrew
Carnegie, American Indian leader Ohiyesa (Charles A. Eastman),
President Theodore Roosevelt, and black leader Booker T.
Washington. The event brings communities together to
contemplate and analyze their past, present, and future. Begun
in 1984, the popular program is well-attended by tourists as
well as Nebraskans from all over the state. It is documented
in text, photographs, news clippings, an audio tape, and
Originally submitted by: J. Robert Kerrey, Senator.
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.