Hastings and North Platte have been selected to host a brand new Chautauqua that will provide entertainment, historic presentations, exhibits, youth camps and more, all of which will be based on World War One. Presented by Humanities Nebraska (HN), this free festival will be held in Hastings June 1-5 and in North Platte June 8-12.
The Nebraska Chautauqua theme is “World War I: Legacies of a Forgotten War.”
“As we near the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entrance into World War I, we are inviting Nebraskans to come together and develop a fuller understanding of its lasting influences,” said Kristi Hayek Carley, program officer. “Many people don’t realize how much of an effect the Great War had, both in terms of international relations and domestic issues right here in the U.S.”
Historic scholars will appear as 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 five-day event, educational workshops and activities will be held during the day, and a Chautauqua youth camp will encourage middle schoolers to learn more about the local impact of the Great War on their community. Special programming of interest to veterans are in the planning stage.
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 in character and as themselves.
In Hastings, City Councilwoman Kathy Duval and Betty Kort will serve as co-chairs.
“The Hastings community is delighted to be hosting the Nebraska Chautauqua in June of 2016,” Kort stated. “Hastings has many advantages…Our people are our greatest asset, followed by our unique ability to provide wonderful and often historic spaces for programming, including the Chautauqua Pavilion at Prospect Park.”
North Platte’s co-chairs are Muriel Clark, assistant director of the North Platte/Lincoln County Visitors Bureau, and Jim Griffin, executive director/curator of the Lincoln County Historical Museum.
“Chautauqua is one of those events that brings history and education alive,” said Griffin.
Clark added, “We are excited to once again bring Chautauqua to North Platte.”
Chautauqua is sponsored by a major grant from the Nebraska Cultural Endowment and the National Endowment for the Humanities, along with many other generous contributors, state and local sponsors, and volunteers.
The complete schedule of all speakers and events and the 2015 Chautauqua, as well a reading list and more will be available at www.NebraskaChautauqua.org after the first of the year. For additional updates and information, follow Humanities Nebraska on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.