Crossroads: Change in Rural America
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.
Four venues have been chosen throughout South Dakota to host this traveling exhibition, and planning is well underway to make the exhibition a memorable success. Tours will run from September 15, 2022 through June 2023.
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.
The Crossroads exhibition tour is made possible in South Dakota by the South Dakota Humanities Council and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.
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.
South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum
Contact: Gwen McCausland, Museum Director
Mead Cultural Education Center
Contact: Crystal Nelson, Museum Director
Sturgis Public Library
Contact: Chris Hahn, Library Director
Fort Sisseton Historic State Park
Contact: Alicia Tonsfeldt
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 small 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.