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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Plainview residents of all ages help to erect the Chautauqua tent , July 1999
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 promotional materials.

Originally submitted by: J. Robert Kerrey, Senator.

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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.

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