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Museum on Main Street

Crossroads: Change in Rural America

Crossroads Sign
Crossroads Main
Crossroads exhibit

In cooperation with The Smithsonian Institution and the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum, SDHC is pleased to announce that we are sponsoring the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street traveling exhibition “Crossroads: Change in Rural America,” on tour through June 2023.

In 1900, about 40% of Americans lived in rural areas. By 2010, less than 18% of the US population lived in rural areas. In just over a century, massive economic and social changes led to significant growth of America’s urban areas (although less than 10% of the US 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. Revitalizing rural places matters to those who remain, those who left, and those who will come in the future because all Americans benefit from rural America’s successes. We can learn great things from listening to those stories.

Four venues have been chosen throughout South Dakota to host this traveling exhibition: Brookings, Yankton, Sturgis, and Fort Sisseton.

In each of the four Crossroads tour locations, the host venues will contribute their own programming to give the exhibition a unique, locally-based context. While SDHC does provide financial assistance and logistical support to the venues at each Crossroads tour site, the exhibit will be unique and representative of different themes across our state.

Crossroads Logo

There is so much to learn from the story of rural America!

Crossroads: Change in Rural America offers small towns a chance to look at their own paths and explore 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 impacts brought on by economic and demographic changes to America’s small towns, rural communities 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.

Crossroads Tour Information


Sept. 15, 2022 – Jan. 8, 2023
SD Agricultural Heritage Museum

SD Agricultural Heritage Museum
Contact: Gwen McCausland, Museum Director
(605) 688-6226


Jan. 14, 2023 – March 5, 2023
Mead Museum

Mead Museum
Contact: Crystal Nelson, Museum Director
(605) 665-3898


March 11, 2023 – April 30, 2023
Sturgis Public Library

Sturgis Public Library
Contact: Chris Hahn, Library Director
(605) 347-2624


May 6, 2023 – June 25, 2023
Fort Sisseton Historic State Park

Fort Sisseton Historic State Park
Contact: Alicia Tonsfeldt

For the most current and up-to-date information on “Crossroads” events and programming in each community, please use the individual venue contact information provided to contact the venue directly.

Exhibit Photo Gallery

  • Crossroads: Change in Rural America – Locations
  • Crossroads at SD Ag Museum
    Unloading the Exhibit: Brookings, SD
  • Unloading the Exhibit: Brookings, SD
  • Exhibit Installation: Brookings, SD
  • Crossroads at SD Ag Museum
    Crossroads Exhibit at SD Agricultural Heritage Museum: Brookings, SD
  • Perkins Truck arrives at Mead Building
  • Exhibit Installation – Yankton, SD
  • Exhibit Installation – Yankton, SD
  • Handmade Quilt replica of postcard: Sturgis, SD

    The Crossroads exhibition tour is made possible in South Dakota by the South Dakota Humanities Council and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

    Crossroads Logo