Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Highlighting Changing Landscape of Rural America Coming to Nelson County

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2008 Blue Ridge Life Magazine : Appalachia Star Farm seen in this file photo was part of the rural but changing landscape of Nelson. A traveling exhibition here in Lovingston, by the Smithsonian, from mid March until mid April will highlight the changing landscape of rural America.
2008 Blue Ridge Life Magazine : Appalachia Star Farm seen in this file photo was part of the rural but changing landscape of Nelson. A traveling exhibition here in Lovingston, by the Smithsonian, from mid March until mid April will highlight the changing
landscape of rural America.

Washington DC / Nelson County, VA

Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Highlighting Changing
Landscape of Rural America Coming to Nelson County

The Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street, in cooperation with Virginia Humanities and Virginia Association of Museums, presents “Crossroads: Change in Rural America.” The exhibition examining the evolving landscape of rural American opens at the Nelson Memorial Library on March 12, 2022. “Crossroads” will be on view through April 17, 2022 during regular Library hours, except for special Smithsonian Sunday hours on March 20, 2022 from 3:30 – 5:30 pm.

Nelson County has been expressly chosen by the Virginia Humanities and Virginia Association of Museums 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 exhibition will tour six communities in Virginia from October 28, 2021 through June 5, 2022. Nelson County created a website for the six Virginia communities: https://virginialovesmuseumsonmainstreet.com/nelson-memorial-library-nelson-historical-society/
“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% of the landmass considered urban. Since 1900, the percentage of Americans living in rural areas dropped from 60% to 17%. The exhibition 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 Nelson County’s history, present and future and we are excited to explore what the future may hold for our community,” said Maureen Kelley, Nelson County Director of Economic Development and Tourism. “We want to convene conversations about what makes our community unique and have developed local exhibitions and public programs to complement the Smithsonian exhibition.” Such free events include exhibits at Oakland Museum, tour of historic caboose at the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail and accessible tours of the Blue Ridge Tunnel and Historical Society programs on Navigating American History with Ed Ayers, photo scanning event, Nelson County Schools and Rural Electrification and Broadband. Other events include tours of the Vietnam War and Foreign Conflicts Museum and Raceside Market at Woodson’s Mill. The Nelson County Schools have been active participants, creating complimentary exhibits on oral histories from County residents, scrapbooks, a music video and an art/photography exhibit. Current event information can be found at https://www.nelsoncounty.com/museum-on-main-street/

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 state humanities councils, 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 living rural, 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, Virginia Humanities and Virginia Association of Museums.

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 https://www.nelsoncounty.com/museum-on-main-street/

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 state humanities councils, 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 living rural, 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, Virginia Humanities and Virginia Association of Museums.
               
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.

March 12 – April 17, 2022
Nelson Memorial Library
8521 Thomas Nelson Highway, Lovingston VA 22949
Exhibit Hours:
Monday – Tuesday: 9:30 am – 7 pm
Wednesday – Thursday – Friday: 9:30 am – 5 pm
Saturday: 9:30 am – 4 pm
Sunday – Closed – Special Sunday Tour March 20, 3:30 – 5:30 pm
For more information, contact  Nelson County Tourism at info@nelsoncounty.org or 434-263-7015

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