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Smithsonian Sites Announced for 2022

Six communities selected for traveling exhibit on changes in rural America.

The Smithsonian is coming to small towns in Massachusetts. 

Through a partnership with the world’s largest museum complex, Mass Humanities selected six local organizations to host “Crossroads: Changes in Rural America,” a traveling exhibit produced by the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street program.

These institutions will host the exhibit during the tour:
 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: 2/5/2023 – 3/18/2023

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

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

“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% of the landmass considered urban. Since 1900, the percentage of Americans living in rural areas dropped from 60% to 17%. The exhibition offers small towns a chance to look at their own paths to highlight the changes that affected their fortunes over the past century.

“It’s an honor to partner with the Smithsonian and our friends at each of the selected sites,” said Brian Boyles, Executive Director of Mass Humanities. “Rural Massachusetts is a complex, changing landscape, and residents in our small towns deserve to be heard as we build a more equitable commonwealth.”

Each site will receive extensive training from the staff of the Smithsonian along with a $10,000 grant from Mass Humanities to develop public events during the exhibit, which will be on display for six weeks in each community. Organizations located in towns with populations of 12,000 or less were eligible to apply. Mass Humanities receives major support from Mass Cultural Council (MCC), the state agency for arts and the humanities.

“Mass Cultural Council celebrates the power of culture in every Commonwealth community — whether big or small, east or west, rural, suburban, or urban,” said Michael J. Bobbitt, Executive Director, Mass Cultural Council.  “We are pleased to partner with Mass Humanities to support the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program and shine a spotlight on these rural stories that make Massachusetts so special.”

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. A private foundation based in Northampton, Mass Humanities serves as the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For further information, contact Jen Atwood at

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