The Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street, in cooperation with the Virginia Association of Museums, will present “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” from Dec. 4 to Jan. 9 at the Reynolds Homestead Creative Arts Center in Stuart, Virginia in partnership with the Patrick County Chamber of Commerce.
Reynolds Homestead and the surrounding community were chosen by the Virginia Association of Museums to host “Crossroads” as part of the Museum on Main Street program, which works to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations. The exhibition, which examines changes in rural communities during the 20th century, will tour six communities in Virginia from August through March.
From sea to shining sea, the vast majority of the United States remains rural with only 3.5 percent of the landmass considered urban. Since 1900, the percentage of Americans living in rural areas dropped from 60 percent to 17 percent.
Designed for small-town museums, libraries, and cultural organizations, “Crossroads” looks at this remarkable societal change and how rural small towns continue to creatively focus on new opportunities for growth and development.
“‘Crossroads’ allows us to reflect on Patrick County’s history, the present, and what the future may hold for our community,” said Julie Walters Steele, director of the Reynolds Homestead. “To help facilitate conversations about what makes our community unique, we have also developed local exhibitions and public programs to complement the Smithsonian exhibition.”
Among the free events are a viewing and re-examination of the 1982 documentary “Up and Down These Roads: A Rural County in Transition,” featuring Patrick County; an exhibition of photographs of the county over the past 100 years; a local premiere of the documentary “Rock Castle Home,” which illustrates the changes that occurred in the Rock Castle community with the building of the Blue Ridge Parkway; an original art exhibit; music, and more.
The “Crossroads” exhibition is part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, 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.