Smithsonian coming to Kentucky!
The Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street, in cooperation with Kentucky Humanities, will bring Crossroads: Change in Rural America, an exhibit examining the evolving landscape of rural American, to seven rural Kentucky communities in 2020.
Kentucky Humanities has selected seven museums and libraries to host Crossroads as part of the Museum on Main Street program — a national/state/local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations. The Smithsonian exhibit will make stops in Bedford, Glasgow, Loretto, Morgantown, Paducah, Paris, and Pikeville from September 12, 2020 through June 26, 2021.
Crossroads explores how rural American communities changed in the 20th century. From sea to shining sea, the vast majority of the United States landscape remains rural with only 3.5 percent of the landmass considered urban. Since 1900, the percentage of Americans living in rural areas dropped from 60 percent to 17 percent. The exhibit looks at that remarkable societal change and how rural Americans responded.
Americans have relied on rural crossroads for generations. These places where people gather to exchange goods, services and culture and to engage in political and community discussions are an important part of our cultural fabric. Despite the massive economic and demographic impacts brought on by these changes, America’s small towns continue to creatively focus on new opportunities for growth and development.
“Crossroads allows us to reflect on Kentucky’s history, present and future and we are excited to explore what the future may hold for our rural communities,” said Bill Goodman, Executive Director of Kentucky Humanities. “We want to stimulate conversations about what makes our communities unique and how community members can work together to reach their full potential. Each exhibit host will develop exhibits specific to their town and public programs focused on their community to complement the Smithsonian exhibition.”
Designed for small-town museums, libraries and cultural organizations, Crossroads will serve as a community meeting place for conversations about how rural America has changed. With the support and guidance of Kentucky Humanities, these towns will develop complementary exhibits, host public programs and facilitate educational initiatives to raise people’s understanding about their own history, the joys and challenges of rural living, how change has impacted their community, and prompt discussion of goals for the future.
The exhibition is part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. To learn more about Crossroads and other Museum on Main Street exhibitions, visit www.museumonmainstreet.org.
Support for MoMS has been provided by the U.S. Congress, Kentucky Humanities, and the Kentucky Department of Transportation.
Kentucky Humanities is a non-profit Kentucky corporation affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities. For information about Kentucky Humanities’ programs and services, visit kyhumanities.org.
SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For exhibition description and tour schedules, visit www.sites.si.edu.
Crossroads: Change in Rural America Tour Schedule
09/12/20 - 10/10/20 — Loretto City Hall in partnership with the Loretto Heritage Center, Loretto
10/17/20 - 11/14/20 — Trimble County Public Library, Bedford
11/21/20 - 01/02/21 — City of Morgantown Community Center, Morgantown
01/09/21 - 02/13/21 — River Discovery Center, Paducah
02/20/21 - 04/03/21 — Big Sandy Heritage Museum in partnership with the City of Pikeville, Pikeville
04/10/21 - 05/15/21 — South Central Kentucky Cultural Center in partnership with the Mary Wood Weldon Library, Glasgow
05/22/21 - 06/26/21 — Hopewell Museum, Paris
Thank you to the Kentucky Department of Transportation for their support in moving the exhibit throughout the Commonwealth.