CORRECTION: “The 1960s in Delaware”—Chautauqua tent show in Lewes, Del. from Sept. 19 to 21, 2019


President Lyndon B. Johnson (left) and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., two pivotal American leaders during the 1960s, will be portrayed by American Historical Theatre actor-historians on Sept. 19 as part of Lewes, Del.’s Chautauqua Tent Show.

-CORRECTION: Sept. 21 performance by the 60’s Revival Band begins at 5 p.m.; not 6 p.m.-

(DOVER, Del.—Sept. 3, 2019)—The white-hot crucible of events that was the 1960s—including the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, the space program and rock ‘n’ roll—will be explored during the 21st annual Chautauqua tent show, “The 1960s in Delaware: A Decade of Turmoil and Transformation,” that will take place from Sept. 19 to 21, 2019 at the Lewes History Museum, located at 101 Adams Ave. in downtown Lewes, Del. A complete listing of activities is attached or may be accessed by going to Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-645-1148 or 302-645-7670.

A unique mixture of education and entertainment, Lewes’ Chautauqua will be held under a large tent and will feature historical theater, music, film and lectures. Highlights of the three-day event include actor-historians from the American Historical Theatre portraying Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Lyndon B. Johnson on Thursday, Sept. 19; a screening of the documentary Good Ol’ Freda about the Beatles’ secretary on Friday, Sept. 20; and a concert/dance featuring the 60’s Revival Band on Saturday, Sept. 21. Visitors are encouraged to dress in their favorite ’60s fashions for the performance. CORRECTION: The time for the dance/concert by the 60’s Revival Band has been changed from 6–8 p.m. to 5–7 p.m.

Photo of a poster for the documentary film “Good Ol’ Freda.”
The documentary “Good Ol’ Freda” about the Beatles secretary will be screened on Friday, Sept. 20.

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 often organized around a core program in which actor-historians 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 Mark Twain, 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.

“The 1960s in Delaware: A Decade of Turmoil and Transformation” is co-sponsored by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ Zwaanendael Museum, the Lewes Historical Society, and the Lewes Chamber of Commerce, and is partially funded by a grant from Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Photo of the Delaware Humanities logo
The Zwaanendael Museum is administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, an agency of the State of Delaware. The division enhances Delaware’s quality of life by preserving the state’s unique historical heritage, fostering community stability and economic vitality and providing educational programs and assistance to the general public on Delaware history. The division’s diverse array of services includes operation of five museums which are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, administration of the State Historic Preservation Office, conservation of the state’s archaeological and historic-objects collections, operation of a conference center and management of historic properties across the state. Primary funding for division programs and services is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware General Assembly and grants from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, a federal agency. However, the contents and opinions expressed in the division’s programs and services do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Department of the Interior.



“The 1960s in Delaware: A Decade of Turmoil and Transformation”—21st annual Chautauqua tent show, Lewes, Del., Sept. 19 to 21, 2019

CORRECTED schedule as of Sept. 3, 2019

All activities take place at the Lewes History Museum, 101 Adams Ave. Lewes, Del. 302-645-7670.
Free admission for all activities.

Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019

“Preserving African-American History in Delaware: Highlighting Vibrant Communities Through Research and the ‘Green Book.’ ” Presentation by historian Carlton Hall of the Delaware State Historic Preservation Office on the “Green Book,” a travel and vacation guidebook for people of color during the segregation era. 11:45 a.m.

“Vietnam Mailbag.” Journalist Nancy E. Lynch, author of the award-winning book, “Vietnam Mailbag, Voices From the War: 1968-1972,” and Vietnam veteran Rick Lovekin share their experiences of the war from letters and correspondences from that period. 1 p.m.

“Deadly Storms of the Delmarva Coast.” Author and historian Michael Morgan will discuss the storms that have affected the coastline along Delmarva, among them, the Ash Wednesday nor’easter of 1962. 2:15 p.m.

“Dover International Speedway: 50th Anniversary of Racing at the Monster Mile.” Lecture by Mike Lewis, communications manager of Dover International Speedway. 3:30 p.m.

“Martin Luther King, A Man of Conscience.” Keith Henley of the American Historical Theatre portrays the noted civil rights leader. 6 p.m.

“Lyndon B. Johnson.” Bob Gleason of the American Historical Theatre portrays America’s 36th president. 7:15 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 20, 2019

“Fashioning America’s Space Suit—The Story of the Local Company That Outfits Our Astronauts.” Lecture by Bill Ayrey, retired quality manager and company historian for ILC, Dover. 1 p.m.

“Menhaden Industry in Lewes.” Lecture by Robert Kennedy, Lewes resident and director of the town’s Board of Public Works. 2:15 p.m.

“Governor Carvel of Delaware.” Lecture by Richard Carter, retired communications director for the Delaware state Senate, and former chairman of the Delaware Heritage Commission. 3:30 p.m.

Smooth Sound Dance Band. A component of the Milford Community Band playing songs of the 1960s. 6 p.m.

Good Ol’ Freda.” Documentary film about the Beatles secretary. 7:15 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019

“We Came in Peace: 50 Years on the Moon.” Lecture by Eric Mease of Delaware Humanities. 1 p.m.

Radio Theater presented by the Possum Point Players of Georgetown, Del. 2:15 p.m.

“The Enduring Influence of 1960’s Fashion.” Lecture by Nancy Alexander, executive director of the Rehoboth Beach Historical Society. 3:30 p.m.

Concert/dance featuring the 60’s Revival Band. Visitors are encouraged to dress in their favorite ’60s fashions for the performance. 5 p.m. CORRECTION: The time for the dance/concert by the 60’s Revival Band has been changed from 6–8 p.m. to 5–7 p.m.


Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-739-7787