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 moved millions of Americans into urban areas. Still, nearly 60 million Americans live in rural areas, and the United States needs vibrant and sustainable rural communities. The Dillon County Theatre Association, in cooperation with SC Humanities, will investigate the changes that have affected small towns over the past century as it hosts Crossroads: Change in Rural America, a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program. Crossroads will be on view in Dillon from May 18 through June 29, 2019.
Dillon County and the surrounding community has been expressly chosen by SC Humanities through a competitive application process to host Crossroads: Change in Rural America as part of the Museum on Main Street program—a national/state/local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations.
The exhibition will tour six communities in South Carolina from September 2018 through June 2019. An itinerary is attached.
Crossroads offers small towns a chance to envision their futures and engage in 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 creatively continue to find new opportunities for growth and development.
“We are very pleased to be able to bring Crossroads to our area,” said Pat Laird, Project Coordinator. “It allows us the opportunity to explore this fascinating aspect of our own region’s history, and we hope that it will inspire many to become even more involved in the cultural life of our community. I would like to thank Johnnie Luehrs, Donna Borders, Thelma Burns, Robin Thompson, and Steve Laird for their help in the application process. We would like to acknowledge support from Rep. Jackie Hayes, Sen. Kent Williams, Rep. Lucas Atkinson, Mayor Todd Davis, Dillon School District Four Superintendent Mr. Ray Rogers, Dillon School District Three Superintendent Dr. John Kirby, Dillon County Library Director Yolanda McCormick, Rural Area Leadership Initiative Past Chairman Grady Sampson and the Dillon County Chamber of Commerce. We have some wonderful activities that will be held in conjunction with this exhibit. One of these activities will be a writing workshop entitled Communal Pen: A Writing Workshop Celebrating Memories, Stories, and Traditions of Place to be held on June 8 at the Dillon Library. For more information visit our website, www.Dillon County Theatre.com.”
“SC Humanities is one of the first three states to host this new Smithsonian exhibit, joining Illinois and Florida,” said Dr. Randy L. Akers, Executive Director of SC Humanities. “I grew up in a farming village of 600 people in rural Illinois and have seen the devastating changes as small farms collapse, industry moves out, young people move to the city, and schools close. South Carolina is a rural state, and its numerous small communities have experienced many changes over the past decades. Yet there are people, values, and cultural and historical assets that offer hope. This exhibit and the programs which will accompany it will challenge us to think about the future. What can we do to bring new life to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in our state? This is a timely and extremely important exhibit addressing one of the most pressing social issues of this century.”
Crossroads: Change in Rural America 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 www.museumonmainstreet.org. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.
The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 21-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually. www.schumanities.org
The mission of the Dillon County Theatre Association is to promote growth, enhancement and encouragement of cultural arts events in Dillon County.
For further information, please contact Pat Laird at 843-845-2875 or [email protected]
Crossroads: Change in Rural America
South Carolina Itinerary
September 8 – October 21, 2018
Union County Carnegie Library
October 27 – December 9, 2018
December 15, 2018 – February 3, 2019
Newberry Opera House
February 9 – March 24, 2019
Harriet Barber House
March 30 – May 12, 2019
Barnwell County Museum
May 18 – June 29, 2019
Dillon County Theatre Association