An all-new Nebraska Chautauqua will come to Kearney on Friday and Saturday, August 2 & 3. |Presented by Humanities Nebraska, “The Fifties in Focus” will include family-friendly events,
opportunities to learn more about America’s most iconic decade, and Chautauqua-style presentations that allow audience members to interact with historic figures. All events are free and open
to the public.
This is the 35th consecutive year that Humanities Nebraska has presented a Chautauqua history festival. Chautauqua manager Kristi Hayek Carley said the non-profit organization took a fresh approach to this year’s edition.
“We created ‘The Fifties in Focus’ to cater to contemporary lifestyles,” she said. “Instead of a week’s worth of daytime and evening events, we’re condensing our time line to Friday evening and Saturday day and evening. This will make it easier for people to attend all or part of the
festivities as their busy schedules allow.”
Friday evening’s schedule includes a 1950s fashion show at Merryman Performing Arts Center hosted by Sue McClain and featuring local models. Keynote remarks by William I Hitchcock,
author of “The Age of Eisenhower” and a respected scholar on the 1950s, will follow.
On Saturday, Kearney Public Library will host a series of breakout sessions on numerous topics ranging from rock & roll and pop culture, to 50s politics, the Red Scare and the Cold War, to important agricultural advancements of the era. Representatives from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and Senior College of Central Nebraska will be on hand to collect personal memories from participants.
Meanwhile, the Buffalo County Historical Society/Trails & Rails Museum will host walking tours of downtown to highlight iconic 50s architecture. A “show and shine” car show hosted by the Classic Car Collection will be held in the parking lot of the Museum of Nebraska Art, with kids’ activities provided by the Kearney Area Children’s Museum.
On Saturday evening at the World Theatre, audiences will be treated to Chautauqua-style presentations of two important historic figures from the era: Rosa Parks (portrayed by scholar Becky Stone) and Thurgood Marshall (portrayed by Dr. Lenneal Henderson).
A complete schedule of all speakers and events at the 2019 Nebraska Chautauqua can be found at www.NebraskaChautauqua.org.
“The Fifties in Focus” is presented by Humanities Nebraska with support from the Johnny Carson Fund at the Nebraska Cultural Endowment and the State of Nebraska. Local support is provided by the Kearney Visitor’s Bureau, the Ron and Carol Cope Foundation, Kearney Area Community Foundation, and many other organizations and volunteers.