Chautauqua at the Russell Museum

A week ago I attended an outdoor chautauqua at the C. M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, MT. The event followed the model of the original Chautauqua movement founded in Chautauqua, NY in 1874.

Characters invited to the chautauqua were relative to the time period that western artist Charlie Russell and his wife Nancy lived in Great Falls, MT between the late 1800s and 1926.

The first session was titled Two Gals Gossiping About Early Montana. These gals (pictured) were of diverse backgrounds – one was the first schoolteacher in Missoula and the other was a notorious madam from that town’s red light district. Interesting contrast to say the least!

Another portyrayal was of Montanan Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to the United States Congress. As told in the chautauqua, Rankin worked for the cause of women and children during the early 20th century.

Finally, a portrayal of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States took place.

It was a great day for this outside event. The Russell Museum had chairs and awnings set up and a nice sized crowd turned out to watch and listen to the performances.

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