The Smithsonian's Museum on Main Street, in cooperation with the Idaho Humanities Council and the Latah County Historical Society, presents "Crossroads: Change in Rural America." The exhibition examining the evolving landscape of rural America opens at the Moscow Chamber of Commerce office at 411 S. Main St. on Friday, August 23. "Crossroads" will be on view through October 4.
Moscow and the surrounding community have been expressly chosen by the Idaho Humanities Council 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 Idaho from August 2019 through June 2020.
"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.
Moscow exhibition coordinated by.png
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' explores themes that are incredibly relevant to the lives of folks in Latah County, including the ways that land impacts personal identity, how change is constantly reshaping our communities, and how towns in our region have sustained themselves and reimagined their futures over time," said Latah County Historical Society Executive Director Dulce Kersting-Lark. "We want to convene conversations about what makes our community unique and are developing local exhibitions and public programs to compliment this Smithsonian exhibit." Details about companion programs are forthcoming.
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 the Idaho Humanities Council, Latah County Historical Society will develop complementary exhibits, host public programs, and facilitate educational initiatives to enhance people's understanding of their own history, the joys and challenges of rural living, how change has impacted the communities of Latah County, and prompt discussions of goals for the future.
The exhibition is part of Museum of Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the U.S. Congress, including Senators Mike Crapo and James E. Risch, and Representative Russ Fulcher.
SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian Institution 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.