Before they came to cut a rug in the Spanish Ballroom, visitors to Glen Echo Park came to contemplate their navels in the Tower of Philosophy. An exponent of the adult-education movement that began at Lake Chautauqua, N.Y., in 1874, the Glen Echo Chautauqua was founded in 1891 “to promote liberal and practical education, especially among the masses…and to fit them for the duties which devolve upon them as members of society.” The Chautauqua offered a summer-camp-like setting in which the common folk could pursue the liberal arts and sciences for one brief season—after the operator of its business school died of pneumonia, rumors of a malarial outbreak shut the assembly’s doors for good. Today, the National Park Service and the Glen Echo Park Foundation honor the park’s early history by offering the masses Art in Action Day, an afternoon of demonstrations and classes in subjects ranging from quilting to cartoon animation, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo. Free. (301) 492-6229. (Leonard Roberge)