An old and recent photo of the Pier Building and Miller Bell Tower along Chautauqua Lake

The Seasons and Stories of Chautauqua: Our 150th Year 

A Calendar of Events and Special Initiatives

Be a part of the quintessential Chautauqua experience commemorating the Institution’s 150th anniversary. The sesquicentennial calendar invites patrons to learn about the history of Chautauqua and the Chautauqua Movement, to capture their own Chautauqua story, to contribute to the future of the organization, and to take part in one-of-a-kind activities curated especially for this special anniversary. 

Organized around the theme The Seasons and Stories of Chautauqua, the anniversary calendar celebrates the dream of our founders, Lewis Miller and Bishop John Heyl Vincent, who together understood the importance of education across a lifetime. Their vision for Chautauqua called for Americans to make their leisure time matter by intentionally engaging in interdisciplinary and intergenerational learning and personal growth experiences. That vision has framed the main idea of Chautauqua’s story and enduring legacy for 150 years.

Visit our Calendar of Events for a full list of all 2024 programs announced to date.

Chautauqua Institution 150th Anniversary logo

Capture Your Chautauqua Story 

In May, the Institution launches a partnership with StoryCorps®, inviting all who know and love Chautauqua to record and preserve their Chautauqua story in conversation with a friend or family member. Selected conversations will be featured on StoryCorps Mondays at Chautauqua, when edited versions of conversations will be presented in advance of lecture or performing arts programs. StoryCorps CEO Sandra M. Clark will speak on the Chautauqua Lecture Series Wednesday, Aug. 7 at 10:45 a.m. in the Amphitheater. Chautauqua’s 150th Anniversary StoryCorps Archive will be housed in perpetuity at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., where the StoryCorps archive is the largest collection of recorded conversations in the world.

Selected Chautauqua StoryCorps recordings will be featured on “StoryCorps Mondays at Chautauqua”, presented in advance of events at the Amphitheater or the Hall of Philosophy each Monday of the Summer Assembly.

Red Story Corps. Studios logo

Contribute to the Future of Chautauqua

In recognition of Chautauqua’s sesquicentennial and preparation for its next 150 years, the Institution launched the public phase of Boundless, A Campaign for Chautauqua in January. The $150 million campaign is composed of capital projects and strategic initiatives that will elevate the traditional Summer Assembly experience; expand Chautauqua’s role as a convener; ensure a thriving Chautauqua Lake; and endow a vibrant future for the Institution through the Chautauqua Foundation. More than $112 million has been raised to date. Read the full Case for Support at boundless.chq.org.

Boundless, A Campaign for Chautauqua over a photo of the Chautauqua Lake shoreline

Focus on the Youngest Chautauquans

The youth of Chautauqua will take center stage during the anniversary celebration. On July 10, young Chautauquans will take the lead on crafting a vision for Chautauqua’s future through facilitated conversations captured live by graphic recorder Jo (Johnine) Byrne. Participants’ parents will be invited to take part in a companion activity the next day – creating an understanding of what the youngest Chautauquans and their parents want Chautauqua to be for them and future generations of young families. Anniversary-themed events and programs will also be incorporated into the Play CHQ activities each week on Bestor Plaza and at the weekly Boys’ and Girls’ Club.

Our Chautauqua: A 150th Anniversary Photo Exhibit

As Chautauqua Institution celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2024, we are seeking to honor the many seasons and stories of this unique and cherished community. One of the best ways we can capture and tell stories is through the art of photography. We invite all generations of Chautauquans to submit their favorite photos taken at Chautauqua to be part of an online gallery and possibly a physical “living” photo exhibit at the Colonnade.

A group of people standing in front of a building

Photos may be submitted online using Our Chautauqua portal. All qualifying submissions will be exhibited in the online Our Chautauqua gallery. As many as possible will also be made part of the physical exhibit at the Colonnade, unfolding throughout the 2024 season. Photos selected for the physical exhibit will be professionally printed and mounted. A season-long silent auction will make the print versions available to the highest bidder.

If you are unable to scan photos yourself, please complete the online submission form anyway, and provide your phone number at the end of the form. One of our exhibit curators will contact you to discuss how we can assist.  

Our Chautauqua:  A 150th Anniversary Photo Exhibit is made possible by a gift from Cathrine and Craig Greene.

Learn About the History of Chautauqua and the Chautauqua Movement 

An old photo of two men standing in front of the Hall of Christ

Lecture Series: Examining Chautauqua’s History 

Pillar Talks Series 
Mondays • 3:30 p.m.
Weeks: Three, Four, Five, Seven and Eight
Hall of Christ
The star of these presentations is Chautauqua’s four program pillars — Education, the Arts, Religion and Recreation — presented through the eyes of five former Chautauqua leaders.

Chautauqua Heritage Lecture Series
Tuesdays • 3:30 p.m.
Weeks: One, Two, Three, Four, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine
Hall of Philosophy

Chautauqua Archivist Jon Schmitz has curated a series of eight lectures across Chautauqua’s nine-week season centering on various aspects of the Institution’s history and extended impact.

The front of the Athenaeum Hotel with a bright blue sky and clouds

Tours: A Window into Chautauqua’s Legacy and History

  • Daily historic bus tours of the grounds
  • Weekly Athenaeum Hotel historic tours
  • Weekly tours of the Miller-Edison Cottage on Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • Weekly tours of the Miller-Edison Cottage Ellen Biddle Shipman-inspired garden, hosted by Chautauqua Bird, Tree and Garden Club on Wednesdays
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performing, an old photo of Chautauquans in front of a building in 1878 and an opera singer in a black dress performing outside

Take Part in One-of-a-Kind Activities Curated Especially for the 150th Anniversary

Reconstruction of First Chautauquan Lodgings

What was it like to visit Chautauqua in 1874? Join us for the unveiling of our circa 1874 tent, constructed by volunteers using original directions used by the early Chautauquans to build their summer accommodations.
Sunday, June 23, Noon, Miller Park (date subject to change pending materials construction timeline)

Old First Night: Annual Celebration of the Original First Night of the Summer Assembly

Historically beginning the first Tuesday of August, the beloved traditions of this annual celebration will be accompanied by : 

  • Squonk: A special participatory performance on Bestor Plaza by puppeteers and band Squonk, bringing all generations of Chautauquans to their feet. 
  • Giant Birthday Cake: Being served to patrons from the porch of the Athenaeum Hotel.
  • Drone Fireworks Display: Chautauqua Lake’s first drone fireworks display — a 350-drone animated spectacle in the sky. Drone display presenters will offer an educational session for all who are interested in learning how drone displays are created and staged.  A drone display was selected over traditional fireworks to align with the Institution’s commitment to Chautauqua Lake conservation and environmental sustainability.
  • The Chautauqua Trail: Join us in welcoming representatives of The Chautauqua Trail for their annual meeting August 4-6. The Chautauqua Trail is the modern expression of The Chautauqua Movement.  It is composed of the remaining organizations that were fashioned according to the vision of Chautauqua Institution’s founders and continue to pursue aligned missions today.

Memorable Performances to Last the Century

Chautauqua Opera Company 

Chautauqua Lake also serves as the backdrop for four outdoor performances of Love and Longing by the Lake, a trio of chamber operas. This will include two world premieres from The Summer Place, music by Rene Orth, Kamala Sankaram, and libretto by Jerre Dye.  An opera inspired by oral histories and true accounts of life across the decades at Chautauqua, The Summer Place was commissioned by Chautauqua Opera Company with support from the Chautauqua Opera Guild. 

Chautauqua Theater Company 

Chautauqua Theater Company (CTC) invites audiences to experience a very special benefit play reading on Aug. 1, featuring the talents of several CTC former artistic directors. Throughout CTC’s history, these visionaries have shaped generations of theater artists and presented unforgettable productions. In August, we welcome them back to the theater that was once their artistic home as we look toward the future.

CTC’s 2024 season fittingly includes Chautauqua’s production of Birthday Candles, a play that was originally workshopped at Chautauqua and enjoyed its Broadway premiere in 2022. CTC also stages a world premiere in 2024, Kate Hamill’s The Light and the Dark (the life and times of Artemisia Gentileschi), directed by CTC Producing Artistic Director Jade King Carroll.

 All Rise with Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center 

The anniversary Summer Assembly concludes with a week in partnership with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) on the theme “Rising Together.” 

Wednesday and Thursday performances of Marsalis and JLCO will feature Chautauqua’s Music School Festival Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, and other special guests for two performances of Marsalis’s seminal work All Rise on the 25th anniversary of its first performance.  

These performances will be recorded by a national media partner as part of an hour-long documentary about Chautauqua. The documentary will air nationally in February 2025. The full-length concert will be presented online.  

150th Season Conclusion  

Closing Three Taps of the Gavel 

Chautauqua’s 150th Anniversary celebration concludes Sunday, August 25 with the closing Three Taps of the Gavel address presented by President Hill.  

The Great Massey Organ Sing-Along 

Earlier in the day, The Great Massey Organ Sing-Along will close the institution’s performing arts season, featuring Chautauqua’s historic 1907 Massey Organ — the largest outdoor organ in the world — as it accompanies the community that gathers to “sing out” the season. Chautauqua Director of Sacred Music and Organist Joshua Stafford will lead the sing-along program. Chautauqua continues to offer free admission every Sunday and free parking until 2 p.m.   

A photo of people gathered in Bestor Plaza with the quote “This series of events and opportunities alongside our core program of events is our invitation to Chautauquans around the world to come back to Chautauqua — or visit us for the first time — in 2024."

Plan Your Quintessential Chautauqua Experience 

The full calendar of anniversary events is posted on the institution’s website, where updates and additional events and programs will be added as they are confirmed. Chautauqua’s 150th Anniversary lecture programs will be available live and on demand on the membership channel CHQ Assembly.  

Gate passes and tickets are on sale now for those who plan to attend in-person. Overnight accommodations at the Athenaeum Hotel may be booked online, and Chautauqua’s Accommodations Directory provides information on private housing options available on Chautauqua’s grounds.  

CHQ Assembly: Embark on a Journey of Wisdom and Fulfillment

Become a member of CHQ Assembly to access live and on-demand lecture content from the 150th Anniversary Season and recent past seasons.

CHQ Assembly Logo in green letter within a white square and a green outline

June 23 @ 12:00 pm Week One (June 22–29)

1874 Tent Reenactment

Miller Park

June 23 @ 1:30 pm Week One (June 22–29)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

June 24 @ 6:30 pm Week One (June 22–29)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

June 25 @ 3:30 pm Week One (June 22–29)

Heritage Lecture Series – Burt W. Griffin

Hall of Philosophy

June 26 @ 8:30 am Week One (June 22–29)

What’s your story? Coffee with the StoryCorps Ambassador

Authors’ Alcove

June 26 @ 6:30 pm Week One (June 22–29)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

June 27 @ 6:30 pm Week One (June 22–29)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

June 28 @ 3:30 pm Week One (June 22–29)

Operalogue: Love and Longing by the Lake

Smith Wilkes Hall

June 28 @ 6:00 pm Week One (June 22–29)

Chautauqua Opera Company presents Love and Longing by the Lake

Chautauqua Institution

June 30 @ 1:30 pm Week Two (June 29–July 6)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

July 1 @ 6:30 pm Week Two (June 29–July 6)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

July 2 @ 3:30 pm Week Eight (August 10–17)

Heritage Lecture Series – Patrick Whitton

Hall of Philosophy

July 2 @ 6:30 pm Week Two (June 29–July 6)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

July 3 @ 8:30 am Week One (June 22–29)

What’s your story? Coffee with the StoryCorps Ambassador

Authors’ Alcove

July 3 @ 6:30 pm Week Two (June 29–July 6)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

July 4 @ 6:30 pm Week Two (June 29–July 6)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

July 5 @ 3:30 pm Week Two (June 29–July 6)

Operalogue: Love and Longing by the Lake

Smith Wilkes Hall

July 5 @ 6:00 pm Week Two (June 29–July 6)

Chautauqua Opera Company presents Love and Longing by the Lake

Chautauqua Institution

July 7 @ 1:30 pm Week Three (July 6–13)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

July 8 @ 6:30 pm Week Three (July 6–13)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

July 9 @ 6:30 pm Week Three (July 6–13)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

July 10 @ 8:30 am Week Three (July 6–13)

What’s your story? Coffee with the StoryCorps Ambassador

Authors’ Alcove

July 10 @ 6:30 pm Week Three (July 6–13)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

July 11 @ 6:30 pm Week Three (July 6–13)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

July 12 @ 3:00 pm Week Three (July 6–13)

Operalogue: Love and Longing by the Lake

Smith Wilkes Hall

July 12 @ 6:00 pm Week Three (July 6–13)

Chautauqua Opera Company presents Love and Longing by the Lake

Chautauqua Institution

July 14 @ 1:30 pm Week Four (July 13–20)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

July 15 @ 6:30 pm Week Four (July 13–20)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

July 16 @ 3:30 pm Week Eight (August 10–17)

Heritage Lecture Series – Dr. Christina Jarvis

Hall of Philosophy

July 16 @ 6:30 pm Week Four (July 13–20)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

July 17 @ 8:30 am Week Four (July 13–20)

What’s your story? Coffee with the StoryCorps Ambassador

Authors’ Alcove

July 17 @ 6:30 pm Week Four (July 13–20)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

July 18 @ 6:30 pm Week Four (July 13–20)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

July 21 @ 1:30 pm Week Five (July 20–27)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

July 21 @ 3:00 pm Week Five (July 20–27)

Operalogue: Love and Longing by the Lake

Smith Wilkes Hall

July 21 @ 5:00 pm Week Four (July 13–20)

Chautauqua Opera Company presents Love and Longing by the Lake

Chautauqua Institution

July 22 @ 6:30 pm Week Five (July 20–27)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

July 23 @ 6:30 pm Week Five (July 20–27)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

July 24 @ 8:30 am Week Five (July 20–27)

What’s your story? Coffee with the StoryCorps Ambassador

Authors’ Alcove

July 24 @ 6:30 pm Week Five (July 20–27)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio

July 25 @ 6:30 pm Week Five (July 20–27)

StoryCorps Recording (Reservations Required)

Cohen Multimedia Studio