February 15, 2019

Be a Host City for the Smithsonian Institution

Kentucky Humanities invites smaller museums, libraries and historical societies in towns of fewer than 20,000 residents to apply to host a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit called Crossroads: Change in Rural America. The portable, six-kiosk display was developed by the Smithsonian especially for rural audiences and small museums without access to traveling exhibitions due to space and cost limitations.

The exhibit will tour six Kentucky communities from September, 2020 until June, 2021. Sites will be chosen based on their geographic location, ideas for auxiliary events, and physical display space.

Applications are due by February 28, 2019.

To apply, complete the information below and return it to: Kentucky Humanities, 206 E. Maxwell Street, Lexington, KY  40508 

Phone 859-257-5472 or email to kyhumanities@kyhumanities.org

About the Exhibit: 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. This exhibit offers small towns a chance to look at their own paths to highlight the changes that affected their fortunes over the past century. The exhibit will prompt discussions about what happened when America's rural population became a minority of the country's population and the ripple effects that occurred. The exhibit will engage rural communities in a rich and exciting discussion about their future.

Museum on Main Street is a partnership of the Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and State Humanities Councils nationwide that serves the small-town museums and citizens of rural America.

Museum on Main Street serves rural communities by circulating Smithsonian exhibitions that focus on broad topics of national history and culture. State Humanities Councils help small museums prepare exhibition-related events for and about their communities. The museums benefit from the project's professional training in educational programs, marketing, and interpretation of local history. Through these combined resources, Museum on Main Street provides high-quality cultural programs to under-served rural citizens and sparks everlasting professional improvement for small-town cultural organizations. Learn more about Museum on Main Street at museumonmainstreet.org. The site has detailed information for the general public and members of the press including updated itineraries and educational resources for each exhibition. It is also used as a key administrative and assistance tool for state and local Museum on Main Street coordinators.

For more information about Crossroads: Change in Rural America, visit the Smithsonian Instition’s Museum on Main Street website at museumonmainstreet.org.

The modular, freestanding units require 850 square-feet of display space with 8’ 6” ceilings plus storage space for 21 crates. Additional space is recommended to show local artifacts and special exhibits. Applicants should also consider nearby facilities that can accommodate groups attending events associated with hosting the display.

Each host community will receive from Kentucky Humanities:

  • Rental of the Smithsonian exhibit for a six-week period.
  • Free shipping.
  • An exhibit support manual covering installation, object collection and conservation, public relations, and evaluation.
  • Exhibit brochures, posters, postcards, teacher guides, and docent guides.
  • Assistance with program planning and ready-made publicity materials, such as posters and public service announcements.
  • Travel expenses for the project coordinator to attend a planning meeting.
  • Help in applying for grant funds from KH in support of complementary community programs, such as oral history projects, guest speakers, film series, artifact collection, workshops, reading discussion programs, dramatizations, etc.
  • Humanities scholar to assist with planning of local exhibit and programs to coincide with the exhibit.

In return, hosts will be asked to:

  • Contribute $500 toward exhibit rental and program support.
  • Identify a staff member or volunteer who will serve as coordinator of the project for its duration and who will attend the
    installation and planning meetings.
  • Demonstrate a willingness to plan and implement public programs during the exhibition. Develop and display local exhibit
    and educational programs to coincide with traveling exhibit.
  • Keep track of all staff and volunteer time, facilities, and other resources donated to the project and provide report of local
    cost share at the project’s conclusion.

To open pdf file of application information, click here.

For more information, please contact Kathleen Pool at 859/257-5472 or kathleen.pool@uky.edu.