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2018 Chautauqua

Thursday, September 13 - Saturday, September 15

10:00 am - 12:00 am
Location Description
Zwaanendael Park and The Lewes Historical Society (110 Shipcarpenter Street, Lewes, Delaware 19958)

All Aboard: Delaware and the Railroad” to take place from Sept. 13 to 15, 2018–

Delaware’s Chautauqua tent shows, traditionally held in June, have been moved to September during 2018. Entitled “All Aboard: Delaware and the Railroad,” the three-day series of programs will explore the importance of railroads to America’s economy and way of life, and their impact in Delaware. Now in its 20th year, Delaware’s Chautauqua will take place from Sept. 13 to 15, 2018 and will be split between two Lewes, Del. locations: the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway, and the Lewes History Museum, located at 101 Adams Ave. Admission is free and open to the public. For information, call 302-645-1148.

Chautauqua takes its name from a series of adult education programs that were first held at a campsite on the shores of Lake Chautauqua in upstate New York during the late 19th century. Chautauquas spread throughout America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries bringing speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day to a wide cross-section of the nation’s rural and small-town population. Circuit Chautauquas (also known as Tent Chautauquas) were an itinerant manifestation of the movement. Programs would be presented in tents pitched in a field near town. After several days, the Chautauqua would fold its tents and move on to the next community. The popularity of Chautauquas peaked in the mid-1920s, after which radio, movies and automobiles brought about the gradual disappearance of the movement by the 1940s.

Reborn in the 1970s as a vehicle for humanities education, modern Chautauquas are organized around a core program in which re-enactors portray celebrated historical figures, speaking and interacting with audiences. Modern Chautauquas have been presented annually in Delaware since 1999 featuring a wide variety of historical figures including Woodrow Wilson, Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln; Amelia Earhart; Dolley Madison; Eleanor Roosevelt; Edgar Allan Poe; the Lone Ranger; John Philip Sousa; and Delaware’s own Pvt. James Elbert, Maj. Allen McLane, F.O.C. Darley and Clifford Brown.

Friday, September 14th

Lewes History Museum

10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Model Train Layout

Courtesy of Delaware Seaside Model Railroad Club

3:45 - 5:30 p.m.

"The Harvey Girls"

This 1946 film stars Judy Garland as mail order bride, Susan Bradley , who while travelling West by train’ meets a group of young women who are about to open a" Harvey House " restaurant at a remote whistle stop.

6:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Saul Broudy

Broudy sings the songs of railroad workers and discusses the role this music played in their lives.

7:15 - 8:30 p.m.

Harvey Girl

Kim Hanley, American Historical Theatre

Hanley of the American Historical Theatre portraying a Harvey Girl. A way for a young, respectable woman in the age of rail travel to leave home, see the country, and earn a living by working for this ground breaking restaurant company.

Saturday, September 15th

Lewes History Museum

10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Model Train Layout

Courtesy of Delaware Seaside Model Railroad Club

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Folkstreams "Gandy Dancers"

Movie screening of the occupational folk songs of railroad track laborers.

2:15 - 3:00 p.m.

“Model Railroading Today"

John Hodges, President of Delaware Seaside Model Railroad Club

6:00 - 7:00 p.m.


Musical Duo of Mike and Lorraine Messitt, “Retro Done Right”=

7:15 - 8:30 p.m.

Joshua Lionel Cowen

Neill Hartley, American Historical Theatre, portrays the founder of Lionel Trains.

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