Click on a question below to learn the answer.
- Are there fees associated with visiting a Chautauqua?
Yes, however, fees structures vary from one Chautauqua to another. There are some, like Chautuauqa Institution, Lakeside and Monteagle, that are gated and require guests to purchase a gate pass, entitling pass holders to attend most or all of the programs offered at no additional fee. Others require fees to attend individual programs. Additionally, parking fees may also apply.
Please use the Chautauqua Trail website to link to individual Chautauqua websites to learn more about applicable fees. Regardless of fee structure, the value of the Chautauqua Experience greatly outweighs the cost of admission.
- Are all Chautauqua communities alike?
All Chautauquas share a common heritage and have many similar qualities. However, each Chautauqua is also unique. Exploring the traditions of each is part of the joy of discovery on the Chautauqua Trail.
- Can I become a member of the Chautauqua Trail as an individual?
Yes. Individual memberships are available for a nominal fee. As a member of the Chautauqua Trail, you will receive the e-newsletter and an invitation to attend the annual meeting. Please click on "Join the Movement" for additional information! You will be supporting one of the most important educational movements in North American history.
- What is the length of a Chautauqua season?
This varies by Chautauqua. Some offer summer long programming (8 - 12 weeks) while others offer a multi-day assembly. Please consult individual Chautauqua websites for more information.
- What is the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (CLSC)?
Founded in 1878, the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle is the oldest continuous book club in the United States. Each summer, the CLSC’s task is to choose 10 influential books across genres. The authors of those books are then invited to visit Chautauqua Institution to present their work and discuss the craft of writing.
- How many people visit Chautauquas each year?
More than a million people visited Chautauqua communities in the U.S. and Canada last year, taking advantage of educational, religious, cultural arts and recreational programming.
- Do Chautauquas provide accommodations and dining facilities?
Yes. Most Chautauqua communities offer accommodations and dining options on their grounds. Additionally, Chautauquas are generally located in or near tourist areas that offer a wider range of restaurants, hotels, bed and breakfast inns, campgrounds, cabins, as well as condo and cottage rentals. Summer is generally considered peak season. Please visit individual Chautauqua websites for more information.
- What is the Chautauqua Trail?
The Chautauqua Trail is a cultural heritage trail linking remaining Chautauqua sites across the U.S. and Canada. It is part of a new initiative launched by the Chautauqua Network, a non-profit organization, to better promote the 21st century Chautauqua Movement. Chautauquas pioneered the concept of lifelong learning over a century ago. This collective experience combined with the explosive growth of cultural heritage tourism uniquely position Chautauquas as more and more North Americans seek to improve their lives through continued learning.
- How can I support the mission of the Chautauqua Trail?
The best way to support the mission of the Chautauqua Trail is to become a member. From the home page, click "Join the Movement" tab and then click "Join Us". Individual memberships are $10 per year. Organizational memberships are $100 per year. As a member, you will receive the Chautauqua Network e-Newsletter and an invitation to attend the Chautauqua Network Annual Meeting. Additionally, in most cases, you can also support individual Chautauquas by making a tax-deductible gift to the institution. Please consult the appropriate independent Chautauqua website for more information.
- How can I learn more about the Chautauqua Trail?
Thank you for your interest. Should you have additional questions after reviewing our website, please fill out the electronic form under the 'Contact Us' tab. We will respond as quickly as we can to each inquiry.
- Do you have to be a member of the Chautauqua Trail to visit a Chautauqua?
No, not at all. Anyone can travel the Chautauqua Trail. However, individual and organizational Chautauqua Trail memberships help support the 21st century Chautauqua Movement as well as the Chautauqua Trail website. Please click on "Join the Movement" for membership information. Support this enduring movement; join the Chautauqua Trail today!
- What is Chautauqua?
Chautauqua Institution cofounder John Vincent said "Chautauqua is an idea, embracing the 'all things' of life - art, science, society, religion, patriotism, education – whatsoever tends to enlarge, refine, and ennoble the individual." He wrote that it was the aim of Chautauqua “to take people on all sides of their natures and make them new, more intelligent and thoughtful in a world of ideas.” (The Chautauquan, Fall 1999)
The Chautauqua movement began at Lake Chautauqua, New York in 1874 as a summer retreat for the training of Sunday School teachers. From the first year onward the Chautauqua idea was all-denominational and blended study and recreation in a pastoral setting. It broadened almost immediately to include academic subjects, music, art, humanities, and physical education. By 1880 the Chautauqua platform had established itself as a national forum for open discussion of public issues, international relations, literature, and science.
Soon after the founding of the original Chautauqua in New York, numerous independent Chautauqua assemblies were established throughout the country, based upon the ideals of the original. Additionally, in an effort to reach those who could not attend the established Chautauqua assemblies, travelling circuits or "tent Chautauquas" sprang up and continued until the early 1930s.
The Chautauqua idea currently thrives at Chautauqua Institution in New York and at its surviving "independents" around the country. In addition, some Chautauquas which became inactive in the 1930s are now being revived. Even a new Chautauqua circuit has recently started up which travels to cities across the country bringing historical re-enactors to lecture, teach, and entertain.
Chautauqua has grown to represent life-long learning in its fullest sense – educational and cultural opportunities for the total person. It has been one of the major influences in adult education in this country and remains true to its founders' ideal of "embracing the 'all things' of life."