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Smithsonian Museum on Main Street

Catalyzing Conversations in Rural Massachusetts

The humanities help us build common ground. When we come together to study the past, share our stories, and learn from each other, we create opportunities for meaningful conversations about the future of our communities and our democracy. In 2022, Mass Humanities will partner with the Smithsonian Institute to spark discussions about changes in six small towns in Massachusetts.

The Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) initiative reaches underserved rural communities through traveling exhibitions that explore common themes in American life. Mass Humanities is bringing the exhibition, “Crossroads: Changes in Rural America,” to six host organizations:

   Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum: 9/10/2022 – 10/22/2022

   The Hull Lifesaving Museum: 10/30/2022 – 12/10/2022

   Rutland Free Public Library: 12/18/2022 – 1/28/2023

   Great Falls Discovery Center, Turners Falls: 2/5/2023 – 3/18/2023

   Bushnell-Sage Library, Sheffield: 3/26/2023 – 5/6/2023

   Athol Public Library: 5/14/2023 – 6/24/2023

More than 43,000 people are engaging directly with “Crossroads,” and Mass Humanities is working with the host organizations to tailor the exhibition, associated events and meetings to meet local needs and promote the stories across the Commonwealth and beyond.

Mass Humanities will coordinate the “Crossroads” tour in 2022-23 and sustain partnerships with the six host sites for an additional year after the conclusion of the exhibition. Over the three-year period, Mass Humanities will:

  1. Provide grants to the host sites to support Crossroads exhibition planning, free public events, marketing, and staff time.
  2. Host five capacity-building workshops for the host sites in the year preceding the opening of the tour.
  3. Provide a second year of funding and support to the host sites to sustain the conversations and partnerships developed during the Smithsonian tour.

For more details, click here or contact Jen Atwood at
Sponsors are key partners in this endeavor, and are included in social media, email, website, live event, and print promotion. Sponsorships can encompass the statewide effort, or be targeted to any of the six towns. In addition to providing crucial funding to strengthen communities they serve, sponsors show the public that they are fellow participants in building common ground. 

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