Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Journey Stories" Opens at the Buchanan Center for the Arts.

Over a year ago Larisa Good, director of the Warren County Public Library and Susan Twomey, director of the Buchanan Center for the Arts wrote a successful grant to get a Smithsonian Institution Exhibition titled “Journey Stories.” On Saturday, January 30th, 2010, the exhibition opened to a standing room only crowd of over 120 people.

"Journey Stories” is part of the Museum on Main Street project of the Smithsonian Institution and the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The project creates special exhibitions for communities under 30,000 population and the Monmouth stop is one of only six locations in the state of Illinois where it can be seen. The show will run at the Buchanan Center for the Arts on the main square of Monmouth, IL from January 30-March 14. More information can be found at the BCA web site or the Warren County Public Library web site.

The main exhibit is comprised of six multi-fold panels that combine text, pictures, objects, and sound. Around the perimeter local venues contribute displays keyed to the development of their own communities. There is no charge for admission and visitors can proceed on their own or get a brief docent led introduction. Either way the story of how transportation contributed to the development of the United States is freshly displayed. The specific focus is on people and their mobility through time both around the continent and on the socio/economic scale. You will see and hear how their personal stories helped create the country and the society we have today.

The Monmouth opening was headlined by three distinguished guests. Mr. William Withuhn, the Smithsonian Curator of the Exhibition, came all the way from Washington DC. to participate. His presentation covered the genesis of the "Journey Stories" project and emphacized the major national trends of immigration and westward expansion. Prof. Dennis Crimin, an Illinois Humanities Council state scholars for the Main Street project, talked about how state and local populations reflected national trends. Pat Miller, the Executive Director ofthe Illinois Heritage Association, was also in attendance and conducted two docent training sessions. All of the guests publicly congratulated the Monmouth organizers for their mounting of the local components of the exhibit and the planning of the month long series of programs that will accompany it. We will cover some of those programs in later articles.

Pictured above in front of one of the exhibit panels are Dennis Crimin, Illinois State Road Scholar, Larisa Good, Director of the Warren County Library, Susan Twomey, Executive Director of the Buchanan Center for the Arts, and William Withuhn, of the Smithsonian Insitution's Museum of Natural History.

More pictures of the opening can be seen and even ordered at my Flickr site.

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