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Tuesday - Saturday
10:00am - 4:00pm

The New Gainesville Chautauqua

The theme for the inaugural season of the New Gainesville Chautauqua, ‘Becoming America’, explores how our nation came to be and how it changes in response to the needs – and actions – of its people. The citizens, indeed icons, presented over the course of the series – Patrick Henry, Abigail Adams, Harriet Tubman - will each tell a part of the story of America’s development using their own perspectives from the nation’s Colonial beginnings and War for Independence, through the creation of its Constitution and Bill of Rights, to country’s ongoing rededication to freedom and equality brought about by the fiery crucible of Civil War.

Presented in the History Center Amphitheatre. Doors open at 6 p.m.,  performances at 7 p.m.

Admission is $5 for the public, free for History Center members


NEGAHC Presents: Patrick Henry from North East Georgia History Cente on Vimeo.

June 14 – Patrick Henry, portrayed by the History Center’s Curator of Education Ken Johnston

July 12 – Abigail Adams, portrayed by Colonial Williamsburg’s Abigail Schumann

August 9 – Harriet Tubman, portrayed by History Center Associate Artist Chiara Richardson

What is "Chautauqua"?

Chautauqua was an adult and family education movement that was highly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries – its name comes from where the programs were first produced at a campsite on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in New York State. Chautauqua assemblies expanded and spread throughout rural America until the mid-1920s. The Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day. At the turn of the century, Gainesville was home to an incredibly successful event, but it had fallen away by 1918.

Now, it's back!  The History Center is proud to present the New Gainesville Chautauqua, a summer series of Living History Character performances taking place at our regular Forums during the months of June, July, and August. 

Series Details

June 14 – Patrick Henry – 'Empire or Liberty?'

It is June of 1788, and the recently independent United States are debating the new Constitution of the United States, with Patrick Henry, the noted Patriot, arguing for rejecting, not ratifying, the document and the government it would establish – since as written it does not sufficiently protect the rights of the people.

July 12 – Abigail Adams – 'Times in Which a Genius Would Wish to Live'

In the waning months of 1800 Abigail Adams has learned the results of the Presidential election – often referred to as the ‘Revolution of 1800’, in which her husband John was defeated by Thomas Jefferson – and reflects on affairs both public and private as witnessed by her during the United States’ founding generation.

August 9 – Harriet Tubman – 'Never Lost a Passenger'

In 1870 Harriet Tubman, after publication of the first biography about her the previous year, reflects on her life as former slave, abolitionist, conductor on the Underground Railroad network, and scout and spy for the US military during the Civil War – and looks ahead to the cause of Women’s Suffrage, which she has embraced as the next chapter of her life.

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