Brookfield hosts Smithsonian’s “Crossroads: Change in Rural America.”

Museum on Main Street
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The Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street, in cooperation with the Missouri Humanities Council, presents “Crossroads: Change in Rural America.” The exhibition examining the evolving landscape of rural America opens on February 4, 2023. “Crossroads” will be on view through March 17, 2024, at the Brookfield License Office. Main Street – Brookfield and the surrounding community have been expressly chosen by the Missouri Humanities Council to host “Crossroads” as part of the Museum on Main Street program—a state partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations. The exhibition will tour six communities in Missouri from 2023 through 2024.

“Crossroads” explores how rural American communities have changed in the 20th century. From sea to shining sea, 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 has dropped from 60% to 17%. The exhibition looks at that remarkable societal change and how rural Americans have responded.

Americans have relied on rural crossroads for generations. These places where people gather to exchange goods, services, and culture and to engage in political and community discussions are an important part of our cultural fabric. 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.

“‘Crossroads’ allows us to reflect on Brookfield’s history, present, and future, and we are excited to explore what the future may hold for our community,” said Katelyn Galloway, a Brookfield-Main Street Volunteer. “We want to convene conversations about what makes our community unique and have developed local exhibitions and public programs to complement the Smithsonian exhibition.”

During the February 7-March 17, 2024 timeframe, the Tillman House Museum will be open for a limited time, and there will be self-guided Downtown Main Street-Brookfield tours to embark on local history. Designed for small-town museums, libraries, and cultural organizations, “Crossroads” will serve as a community meeting place for conversations about how rural America has changed. With the support and guidance of state humanities councils, these towns will develop complementary exhibits, host public programs, and facilitate educational initiatives to raise people’s understanding of their own history, the joys, and challenges of living rural, how change has impacted their community, and prompt discussion of goals for the future.

The exhibition is part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. To learn more about “Crossroads” and other Museum on Main Street exhibitions, visit The Museum on Main Street website. Support for MoMS has been provided by the U.S. Congress. SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science, and history, which are shown wherever people live, work, and play. For exhibition descriptions and tour schedules, visit this link.

If you are interested in volunteering or would like more information, please contact Brookfield Main Street at 660-258-7278 or email [email protected].

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