22 Jun

The Smithsonian comes to Loretto

The City of Loretto and Beautify Loretto in partnership with the Loretto Heritage Center and Kentucky Humanities will examine the resilience of rural Marion County through the ups and downs of the last century. The local exhibition of photos, interviews, and multimedia presentations enhance the Smithsonian traveling exhibit Crossroads: Change in Rural America, which focuses on how rural communities and small towns evolve, forming the basis of rural America. The exhibits openSaturdayJuly 3, at 10 a.m.


The exhibit will be on display at Loretto City Hall, 72 School Drive in Loretto, for the month, closing July 31. Open daily, Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sundays 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The exhibit will be open extended hours on July 3 for the Loretto Fireworks and July 9-10 for the St. Francis Picnic.


Special programs related to the exhibit include:

• July 17 — Family Agriculture Day 

• July 17  at 2 p.m. — “Writing Your Life Story,” a program by Mary Popham, Kentucky Humanities Speakers Bureau

• July 22  at 6:30 p.m. — “A Nurses’ Tale of Two Pandemics,” a talk by McKendree University nurse-educators MaryAnn Thompson and Sara Bolton

• “Front Porches, Kentucky, and Your Hometown,” a program by Michael Johnathon, Kentucky Humanities Speakers Bureau


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 has dropped from 60 percent to 17 percent. The exhibit looks at this remarkable societal change and how rural Americans have 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.”


Kentucky Humanities chose The City of Loretto and the Loretto Heritage Center to host Crossroads as part of the Museum on Main Street project — a national/state/local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations. Museum on Main Street is a partnership of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the Federation of State Humanities Councils and state humanities councils nationwide. The United States Congress and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet provide support to the Museum on Main Street project. The exhibition has toured six communities in Kentucky,beginning October 17, 2020. Loretto is the exhibit’s seventh and final stop in Kentucky. You can find the exhibit’s tour schedule at  Information and examples of the Loretto Exhibition can be found at