A Bicentennial Crossroads: 200 Years of Continuity and Change in Rural Illinois
Keywords:humanities, Illinois, history, rural, Smithsonian, museum, culture
The Illinois tour of Crossroads: Change in Rural America, a Museum on Main Street exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and Illinois Humanities, coincided with the Bicentennial of Illinois statehood. The intersection of those two events elicited contemplation and celebration of the significance of rural life over the 200-year history of Illinois as a state, as well as discussion of its ongoing evolution and the roles of individuals, institutions, and communities in shaping it. The six small-town organizations that hosted Crossroads created companion exhibitions and public programs illustrating how their local histories and cultures reflect themes addressed by the Smithsonian-produced exhibition and contribute to trends that it describes. Taken together, the contents of those locally focused exhibitions and programs form a remarkable survey of continuity and change over two centuries of rural Illinois’s existence. Additionally, the ways in which the host organizations conducted their work reflected and responded to ongoing change in rural Illinois, contributing to their communities’ and regions’ efforts to sustain and enhance their cultural vitality. A Bicentennial Crossroads examines what we can learn about rural Illinois’s past, present, and potential future(s) from what they produced and how they produced it.
Introduction: What's Included?
Part I. Reflections on Content
Part II. The Exhibition in Context
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