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Smithsonian Host Sites Sought for 2022 Tour
04:09PM / Tuesday, August 24, 2021
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NORTHAMTON, Mass. — Through a partnership with the Smithsonian, Mass Humanities will select six local institutions to host "Crossroads: Changes in Rural America," a traveling exhibit produced by the Smithsonian Institution's Museum on Main Street program.
 
Applications open Aug. 30 for museums, libraries, and other cultural centers interested in welcoming the Smithsonian to their communities. Organizations must be located in a town with a population of 12,000 or less to be eligible to host the exhibit. In October, Mass Humanities will select six sites for the "Crossroads" tour, which arrives in Massachusetts in September 2022.
 
"We're excited about the opportunity to partner with the Smithsonian for a Museum on Main Street tour," said Brian Boyles, Executive Director of Mass Humanities. "As our rural communities in Massachusetts face new challenges, this initiative offers local residents the opportunity to discuss the past, present and future of their hometowns."
 
"Crossroads" explores how rural American communities changed in the 20th century. 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 exhibition looks at that societal change and how rural Americans responded.
 
The host sites will receive trainings from the Smithsonian along with a $10,000 grant from Mass Humanities to host programs during the exhibit, which will be on display for six weeks in each community. Grant funds also support trainings, publicity, planning meetings and staff time. Host sites will be responsible for developing public programs to support the exhibit, including at least one community conversation held in partnership with another local organization. 
 
"The collective stories and history of Massachusetts' rural towns are rich and colorful," said Michael J. Bobbitt, Executive Director of the Mass Cultural Council. "And, as someone who lived and worked in the DC area for years, I know firsthand just how powerful and enlightening a visit to any of the Smithsonian Museums can be. This is a wonderful opportunity for rurally-focused cultural organizations to truly showcase the Power of Culture in their community, and I encourage all interested parties to apply."
 
The state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Mass Humanities receives major support from Mass Cultural Council.
 
Launched in 1994, Museum on Main Street (MoMS) is a Smithsonian outreach program that engages small town audiences and brings revitalized attention to underserved rural communities.  The program partners with state humanities councils like Mass Humanities to bring traveling exhibitions, educational resources and programming to small towns across America through their own local museums, historical societies and other cultural venues.
 
For further information, contact Jen Atwood at jatwood@masshumanities.org
 
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