The University of Southern Indiana and Historic New Harmony has been selected by Indiana Humanities to host a Smithsonian-curated traveling exhibit called “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” as part of the Museum on Main Street program, which brings exhibitions and programs to rural communities. The exhibition, which examines the evolving landscape of rural America, will be on display in New Harmony at Thrall’s Opera House from May 9 to June 21, 2020.
The traveling exhibition will tour six Indiana communities from Sept. 7, 2019 to June 21, 2020. In addition to the exhibition, each community has been given $2,000 in project funds to host at least three community programs around the themes of exhibition and create an exhibit that explores change in their community.
Nearly 100 years ago, the 1920 census revealed that for the first time, more Americans lived in urban environments than in rural communities. Since 1900, the percentage of Americans living in rural areas dropped from 60 percent to 17 percent, yet the vast majority of America’s physical landscape remains rural. “Crossroads” looks at this remarkable societal change and how rural Americans responded.
“Conversations about change in our rural communities are vital to the future of Indiana,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “We are excited to be able to utilize the ‘Crossroads’ exhibition as a catalyst for dialogue around the past, present and future of rural Indiana.”
“Having an exhibit associated with the Smithsonian brand will draw a new audience and visitors to New Harmony,” said Claire Eagle, New Harmony experience coordinator. “Our hope is that this exhibit both renews interest and draws new interest in Posey County and New Harmony’s history. This exhibit will offer a number of opportunities for the community to be involved in telling their own story, through a variety of community engaged public programming.”
Indiana Humanities is sponsoring the tour of this exhibit in conjunction with its new thematic initiative—called INseparable, which launches in 2019.Through a variety of programs, Indiana Humanities will encourage Hoosiers to explore how we relate to each other across urban, suburban and rural lines and spark conversations about our futures.