Chautauqua 101 at Dangberg Historic Park

Kim Harris as "Libbie Custer.” Costume by DebiLynn Smith

Kim Harris as "Libbie Custer.” Costume by DebiLynn Smith


Chautauqua 101, a course on presenting living history in first-person, is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 11 at Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park. Pre-registration is required.

The course will cover the history of Chautauqua through the present, research methods and resources, appropriate era costuming and character presentation.

Course instructors include historian Debbe Nye, author Karen Dustman, and Chautauquans DebiLynn Smith and Kim Harris

Chautauqua historian Nye is an avid local researcher and longtime genealogist. Nye has researched and written life stories and scripts for cemetery tours, historic walks and women's history programs. Along with assisting other historians with their research projects, she volunteers with several history-related organizations.

Research instructor Dustman frequently writes about Carson Valley and Alpine County history and is the author of several books on both. Dustman also conducts annual walking tours at old Silver Mountain City, writing scripts for the Chautauquans appearing as the town's early residents. She has also prepared scripts for the costumed actors at local cemetery tours and walking tours of Markleeville and Woodfords in California.

Costuming instructor Smith performed her first Chautauqua at the age of thirteen portraying Laura Ingalls Wilder, sewing her own costume. Smith has portrayed several ladies of prominence who were pioneers on the eastern slopes of the Sierras. She is a Civil War re-enactor and makes all of her own period correct attire.

Presentation instructor Harris has been performing as a Chautauquan since 2010 via her business "Western History ALIVE!" Harris regularly portrays several local and national historic figures which include stagecoach driver Charley Parkhurst, frontierswoman Calamity Jane and Libbie Custer, the wife of General George Armstrong Custer. Presently she is the events manager of Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park.

Chautauqua 101 is appropriate for youth as young as 14 years, as well as adults of all ages who are new to Chautauqua, interested in becoming a Chautauquan, or who want to enhance their docent or re-enactor presentations.

Refreshments will be provided during the morning session. No lunch will be provided; however, attendees are encouraged to bring their own picnic lunch.

A $10 fee will cover course materials and instruction. All participants will receive a 2021 Dangberg Summer Festival Chautauqua pass to attend the park's four Chautauqua evenings. To register, please email Space is limited and registrations will be accepted up through Monday, July 5.

"We are very excited to share what we know, with those who are interested in this fun and entertaining art form," said Kim Harris, the park's events manager and workshop instructor.

Please bring your own seating and no pets allowed - service animals only. All events are held outdoors.

This course is sponsored by Douglas County, Carson Valley Accounting, Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce, Dr. James the Dentist, Edward Jones Investments - Tim Cleveland, Horse Tales, D&B Cabinets, Holiday Inn Express - Minden, Hone Company, Jacobs Family Berry Farm, Mangia Tutto, The Pink House, and Frances C. and William P. Smallwood Foundation. Additional support for the park is provided by Robert E. Schilling Charitable Fund and TruNorth Wealth Management.


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