Bring The Smithsonian to Your Town! 

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New Hampshire Humanities is partnering with Vermont Humanities and the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program to bring a travelling exhibit, Crossroads: Change in Rural America, to small towns in New Hampshire and Vermont from August 2024-August 2025. Each council will support three host sites in their respective states; each location will host the exhibit for six weeks.

Crossroads exhibitions are most powerful when the local community plans, shapes, and implements the exhibit, defining what the project means to them.

NHH seeks proposals from organizations based in rural towns in NH to host Crossroads and develop complimentary programming that will build on local partnerships and encourage community members’ involvement in the exhibition. NHH will provide grant funds to support exhibition and programming costs, as well as a subject matter expert who will help develop the exhibition programming.

Crossroads Overview

Crossroads: Change in Rural America offers rural towns the opportunity to highlight and reflect on the changes that have affected their fortunes over the past century. Despite economic and demographic shifts, America’s small towns continue to find new creative opportunities for economic innovation and cultural life. Crossroads prompts discussion about how these changes impacted small towns and the ways that rural towns are important assets to the nation.

Organizing Themes

The exhibit is organized into six sections (including an introduction) that explore change in rural America through five concepts: identity, land, community, persistence, managing change.

Exhibit Guiding Questions

  • What does “rural America” mean?
  • How has our attraction to and interaction with the land formed the basis of rural America?
  • How have rural communities and small towns evolved and changed?
  • What makes these places unique?
  • How do we identify with them?

 

Tour Dates

Sites will host Crossroads for a period of six weeks. Exact dates will be determined once all host sites are selected. An estimated timeline is provided below.

  • August – September 2024
  • October – November 2024
  • December 2024 – January 2025
  • February – March 2025
  • April – May 2025
  • June – July 2025

 

Logisitics

Crossroads is designed as a travelling exhibition. Each site hosts the exhibit for six weeks. Host sites can vary with every town. The site should be accessible for the general public and be able to fullfill the exhibit's size requirements. While museums, libraries, and historical societies are often hosts, town halls or meeting spaces, store fronts, gymnasiums, and churches have provide a host site location. 

Specifications

  • Six free-standing sections (includes introduction)
    • Installation requires 750 square feet of space
    • Minimum ceiling height: 8 feet
  • Media components: 7 (2 monitors, 2 digital photo frames, 2 battery-powered audio elements, 1 touchscreen computer)
  • Power requirements: 3 outlets
  • Mechanical, tactile, and low-tech interactives
  • Various sized object cases
  • Packed in 16 wheeled crates that fit on a 26-foot U-Haul truck (8 large crates, 8 smaller crates. Crates weigh between 150-350 lbs). 
    • Trucks require ramp or lift gate
    • Plan to use handicap ramps or elevators
    • Doors need to be at least 82” high 

About Crossroads

Crossroads Tour Review

Concepts to Consider (includes sample floor plans)

Exhibition Outline 

 

Criteria and Responsibilities

Host Organization Responsibilities

Hosts will:

  • Partner with at least two organizations in their community to host the exhibition and related programming.
  • Host at least two public events OR one public event and one public project that explores at least one Crossroads theme at the local, community level. A public event could be a lecture, book discussion, a walking tour, a film viewing and discussion. A public project would involve community members in a project that would be displayed in the town-- for example, working with local students or residents to share their memories of the community.  All events and projects should be broadly humanities based.
  • Be responsible for installing the exhibit at the host site (the Smithsonian will provide training and instructions).
  • Be responsible for transporting the exhibit to the next host site. Hosts can use their awarded grant funds to cover transportation costs. (Exception: the Smithsonian will arrange for transportation to the first host site and from the final site.)
  • Ensure the exhibition is staffed during its six-week visit.

 

Host planning and reporting responsibilities

  • Attend planning workshops hosted by NHH, beginning 9-6 months before the tour starts.
  • Attend an installation workshop in August 2024 (will be held at the first host site).
  • Provide NHH with a draft exhibition plan and draft budget no later than January 30, 2024.
  • Provide NHH with a detailed exhibition plan and comprehensive budget no later than May 1, 2024.
  • Submit a final report and final financial records to NHH no later than 90 days after the exhibit closes at the host site.
  • Submit a final report and survey responses to the Smithsonian via the SITES website.

New Hampshire Humanities Responsibilities

NHH will:

  • Provide up to $3,000 in grant funds to the host organization to support programming, exhibition, and transportation costs.
  • Provide a consulting Subject Matter Expert who will be available to help host organizations develop their exhibit and programming plans.
  • Host program planning workshops for all local host sites, 9 to 6 months prior to the exhibition opening.
  • Co-host an installation workshop for all participating organizations at the inaugural host site. 
  • Develop capacity building workshops for participating host organizations.
  • Publicize all Crossroad sites and related programming though NHH networks and communication channels.
  • Pay the Smithsonian exhibition fee to bring Crossroads to New Hampshire.
  • Collect and share final report and evaluation information from all NH host sites with Vermont Humanities. 
  • Submit final reports and financials to the Smithsonian.

 

Smithsonian Responsibilities

The Smithsonian will:

  • Provide marketing and publicity materials including a national press release, digital logos and images of exhibition, news release templates for local use, one multi-colored outdoor banner with state council name; a full-color promotional poster with state council logo, and 50 posters for each venue.
  • Provide educational materials including a docent training guide and links to educational resources.
Contact

Email Programs@nhhumanities.org with any questions. We will be happy to schedule a call to discuss your ideas.