Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Traveling Smithsonian exhibit to promote rural America

The Smithsonian Institution is hitting the road with a traveling exhibition that celebrates 25 years of its "Museum on Main Street" program. MoMS has visited thousands of small towns since 1994 with historical exhibits about American history.

Through 2024, "Crossroads: Change in Rural America" will visit as many as 165 towns in 28 states. "In collaboration with state humanities councils, it aims to foster conversations in rural communities, encourage a focus on local history and artistic expression, build community spirit and stress cultural diversity," April Simpson reports for Stateline. "Communities are urged to host events that encourage videographers, youth and students to capture and celebrate local stories. The exhibit covers big themes like identity, land, community and persistence using artifacts, multimedia displays, community discussions and works by local artists." Click here for more information and the itinerary.

The organizers hope the exhibits will help remind rural residents that their towns and cultures are assets in coming up with solutions to local challenges, even though the "broader narrative" typically emphasizes what rural communities lack, Simpson reports.

"These communities have wonderful things about them,"  Susan DuPlessis, director of community arts development for the South Carolina Arts Commission, told Simpson. "A lot of times, though, when we’ve been told over and over that we 'have nothing,' then you start to believe it and you forget to see what you have all around you."

MoMS has also just kicked off two other traveling exhibitions, both of which will hit small towns. "Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America" will go through 2019. "Water/Ways," which explores the impact of water on our environment, culture and history, will run through next summer.

No comments: