Elkhart County will be the next stop on the Indiana tour of the Smithsonian’s Crossroads: Change in Rural America exhibit.
Part of Indiana Humanities’ INseparable initiative, the exhibit will be at the Elkhart County Historical Museum in Bristol from Feb. 1 to March 15. The interactive display tracks the national ebb and flow of rural America from farming to industrialization to the digital age.
The grand opening of the Crossroads exhibit in Bristol will be at 10 a.m. Feb. 1 and will coincide with the unveiling of work by winners of the Elkhart County Parks photo contest. Local components prepared for the Smithsonian exhibit will include profiles of the county’s changing agricultural landscape, from the memories of a former Waterford resident in his 90s to the introduction of hemp on a modern farm.
“We believe the exhibit will spark meaningful conversations about the dynamic relationship between agriculture and manufacturing in Elkhart County,” said Julie Parke, director of the Elkhart County Historical Museum. “We are excited about the opportunity to reach new audiences and look forward to sharing the exhibit with the people of our community.”
Hours for the exhibit will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Other activities connected to the Crossroads exhibit include:
Feb. 11: Chuck Fluharty, founder of the Rural Policy Research Institute, will discuss contemporary issues facing rural communities. Part of Goshen College’s Yoder Public Affairs Lecture Series, he will speak at 7:30 p.m. at the college’s Rieth Recital Hall.
Feb. 27: Chad Kinsella, a Ball State University political scientist, will lead a discussion on how political opinions vary by place. He will speak at 7:30 p.m. at the Elkhart County Historical Museum.
March 13: At 11 a.m., the Elkhart County Historical Museum will offer a discussion about the Bristol Fruit Hills and how they became a huge producer of fruits and vegetables for regional markets.
The exhibit is part of the Museum on Main Street program, a division of the Smithsonian that brings high-quality exhibits and resources to rural communities. After Elkhart County, it will make two more Indiana stops:
- North Manchester Center for History in Wabash County, March 21, 2020 to May 3, 2020.
- University of Southern Indiana/Historic New Harmony in Posey County, May 9, 2020 to June 21, 2020.
Each community will host the exhibit for six weeks and receive training, funding and other resources from the Smithsonian and Indiana Humanities.
The Indiana Office of Community & Rural Affairs and the Indiana Historical Society also provided mentoring and advice to local exhibit teams.
Host organizations also receive a $2,000 grant from Indiana Humanities to cover costs associated with the development of the local component for the exhibit, including design, fabrication and more.
Another eight sites were awarded $1,500 grants to develop programs, mini-exhibits and other projects related to the themes of the Crossroads exhibit. They are:
- Greentown Historical Society in Howard County
- Harrison County Discovery Center in Corydon
- Jasper Community Arts in Dubois County
- Lawrenceburg Main Street in Dearborn County
- Marshall County Historical Society in Plymouth
- New Carlisle-Olive Twp. Public Library in St. Joseph County
- Ripley County Tourism Bureau in Versailles
- Wabash County Historical Museum in Wabash
Indiana Humanities brought the Crossroads exhibit to Indiana as part of its two-year INseparable initiative. INseparable invites Hoosiers to explore how we relate to each other across boundaries, real or imagined, and consider what it will take to indeed be inseparable, in all the ways that matter.