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Crossroads: Change in Rural America

Delaware Humanities is excited to announce the Smithsonian Institution Museum on Main Street’s exhibit Crossroads: Change in Rural America will be in Delaware from September 10, 2022 through June 25, 2023.  Proposals to host the exhibit will be accepted starting April 2, 2021.

About the Exhibit

In 1900, about 40% of Americans lived in rural areas. By 2010, less than 18% of the U.S. population lived in rural areas. In just over a century, massive economic and social changes led to massive growth of America’s urban areas. Yet, less than 10% of the U.S. landmass is considered urban.

Many Americans assume that rural communities are endangered and hanging on by a thread—suffering from outmigration, ailing schools, and overused land. But that perception is far from true in many areas. Many rural Americans work hard to sustain their communities. Why should revitalizing the rural places left behind matter to those who remain, those who left, and those who will come in the future? All Americans benefit from rural America’s successes. We can learn great things from listening to those stories. There is much more to the story of rural America!

Crossroads: Change in Rural America offers towns a chance to look at their own paths to highlight the changes that affected their fortunes over the past century. The exhibition 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.

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. Economic innovation and a focus on the cultural facets that make small towns unique, comfortable, and desirable have helped many communities create their own renaissance. The future is bright for much of rural America as small towns embrace the notion that their citizens and their cultural uniqueness are important assets.

About Hosting

We are looking for four (4) locations in Delaware to host the exhibit for nine (9) or ten (10) weeks each. The exhibit time frames are:

September 10, 2022 to November 12, 2022
November 19, 2022 to January 28, 2023
February 4, 2023 to April 15, 2023
April 22, 2023 to June 24, 2023

Hosts can be museums, libraries, community organizations, and so forth, but must meet all the requirements listed below.  The organization applying does not need to be the physical host of the exhibit.  While Museums of Main Street exhibits are meant for communities of fewer than 5,000 individuals, if the host organization’s community exceeds that number we invite you still to apply and let us know your organization’s rural connection.

It is important for potential exhibit hosts to be able to explain how their organization connects to the exhibit themes (identity; land; community; persistence; managing change) and to be wiling to form partnerships with other organizations while hosting.

Space Requirements

  • 750 square feet for the exhibit
  • Ceilings at least 8 feet high
  • Doorways over 81.5 inches tall (this is to fit the crates – if doorways are shorter but your organization is interested in hosting please contact Ciera Fisher)
  • Gallery, lounge area or other defined, enclosed, interior space with no direct sunlight on the exhibit
  • Electrical outlets in the display space
  • Ability to move the exhibit to its display area in the building – crates are 150 to 350 lbs
  • Ability to store the 15 transport crates indoors (300 square feet)

Host Responsibilities

  • Assign two project coordinates who can attend a program planning meeting (sometime in the winter of 2022) and the exhibit installation workshop (sometime the week of August 29 or September 5, 2022)
  • Have 4-6 individuals to install and deinstall the exhibit
  • Complete paperwork and follow up reports
  • Provide on-site staff supervision of exhibit during open hours
  • Advertise the exhibit widely with sponsor acknowledgement
  • Plan and implement public humanities programs related to the exhibit and approved by Delaware Humanities (special funds may be available for this through Delaware Humanities)

Applications to host open April 2, 2021 and close June 4, 2021.  Please contact Ciera Fisher with any questions.  Host applicant finalists must be available in June or July 2021 for a site visit with Delaware Humanities.

You can also visit the MoMs resource website for additional information on Crossroads (filter “Exhibition” by Crossroads).  A PDF of this call can be found here.

Apply Here!

Not ready to apply yet? You can read over the application questions here.

Exhibit Information Webinar, April 9, 2021 and PowerPoint Presentation