Deborah Blanche as Laura Gilpin

Deborah Blanche as Laura Gilpin

CHAUTAUQUA: Bringing History to Life

Chautauqua was a lakeside village in upstate New York where the idea of traveling humanities programs originated in the late 1800's. Chautauqua programs bring history to life with a performance by a scholar posing as an historical figure or an expert speaker on an intriguing topic. A lively discussion follows each show.


Imagine: the Master of Ceremonies introduces the Chautauquan: "Ladies and gentlemen, we are proud to introduce Clyde Tingley!" The Chautauqua scholar, acting in character, relates the period history for about 45 minutes to an hour, using your podium, table, slide projector, or whatever you have jointly arranged. The Chautauquan spins yarns, sings songs, and recounts personal events, all with the voice of firsthand experience. At the end of the talk, the Chautauquan, still in character, take questions from the audience. The fun of the extended performance is the illusion that a famous historical character is really present, willing to answer questions, not only about his or her time period, but about our times, too. When there are no more questions for the character, the performer "breaks character," and the audience has a chance to ask personal questions of the scholar. Now the Chautauqua experience is complete. The performer has transported the audience with a "humanities time machine" to experience, explore, and enjoy our history.


To attend an event near you, browse our Event Listings. To learn more about booking a Chautauqua program, review our Booking Guidelines.


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Click here for Booking Guidelines »

Sunny Dooley

Sunny Dooley

SPEAKERS BUREAU

Hey, New Mexicans -- let's talk it over! From archaeology to cultural differences, from regional and individual histories to land use issues, our speakers will help your group enjoy a lively discussion of the subject at hand. The NMHC Chautauqua features a rich roster of specialists who speak with understanding and passion on topics which interest New Mexicans year after year. They begin each program with a fascinating lecture which provokes questions and discussion, and for every topic, the speaker recommends available books on the subject. As New Mexicans, our cultural traditions are deeply rooted yet constantly evolving. NMHC speakers help you appreciate the diversity and scope of our heritage with informative and stimulating programs.


To help you decide on a program, browse our Catalog Listings.

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