Wayne, Sidney to host WWI Chautauqua in June 2018

December 4th, 2017

For the centennial remembrance of the end of the Great War, the communities of Wayne and Sidney will host “World War I: Legacies of a Forgotten War” next June. Presented by Humanities Nebraska, the free, four-day Chautauqua festival of entertainment, historic presentations, exhibits, youth camps and more will be presented in Wayne June 7-10 and in Sidney June 14-17.

“This 100th anniversary is a good time for Nebraskans to come together and develop a fuller understanding of how the Great War still affects the world today,” said Kristi Hayek Carley, Humanities Nebraska Chautauqua program manager. “Many people don’t realize how much of an impact World War I had, both globally and domestically.”

Historic scholars will portray key WWI figures to discuss how the War led to changes in America’s role in international relations, its impact on race, gender, and class issues, and how technology shaped the War. These include President Woodrow Wilson,  Nebraska politician William Jennings Bryan, humanitarian Jane Addams, author Edith Wharton, and sociologist/activist W.E.B. Du Bois.

During the four-day event, educational workshops and activities will be held during the day, and a Chautauqua youth camp will encourage youth ages 10-14 to learn more about the local impact of the Great War on their community. The youth will portray local  historic figures on the Chautauqua stage the evening of their final day at camp.

Audiences will gather each evening to enjoy local music or theatrical entertainment, followed by a presentation by one of the Chautauqua scholars, moderated by Woodrow Wilson. Following the 40-minute presentation as his or her historical figure,  audiences will be invited to ask questions of the scholars, who will answer first as their respective historical figures and then as themselves.

Chautauqua is an event where people from smaller cities and rural areas enjoy themselves while learning about and discussing important historic and/or current events. Humanities Nebraska has presented a Chautauqua in at least one community each year since reviving this traditional gathering 34 years ago. The original Chautauquas were popular around 1880-1920.

Sidney last hosted a Chautauqua in 2005, and Wayne was a Chautauqua community in 1992. Plans are underway in each community to make it a memorable week for all ages. The complete schedule of all speakers and events of this Chautauqua, as well a reading list and more, will be available at www.NebraskaChautauqua.org after the first of the year.

Chautauqua is made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, along with support from the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, the State of Nebraska, and many other generous donors, state and local sponsors, and volunteers. To get involved in the Wayne event, contact Yasuko Taoka at Wayne State  College: yataoka1@wsc.edu or 402.375.7394. In Sidney, contact Heather Hausmann with the Cheyenne County Visitors Bureau at info@sidneycheyennecountytourism.org or 866.545.4030.

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