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Smithsonian exhibit opens at library

  • The welcoming component of the Museum On Main Street exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution exhibit "Crossroads: Change in Rural America" greets guests at the Chester Public Library. The exhibit runs through Oct. 20, and the library will host a number of related events during its stay.

    The welcoming component of the Museum On Main Street exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution exhibit "Crossroads: Change in Rural America" greets guests at the Chester Public Library. The exhibit runs through Oct. 20, and the library will host a number of related events during its stay.
    Gwendy Garner photo

  • Dr. Debra Reid

    Dr. Debra Reid

 
By Gwendy Garner
contributing writer
updated: 9/12/2018 8:46 AM

"Crossroads: Change In Rural America," a new Museum On Main Street exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution and Illinois Humanities, has opened at the Chester Public Library.

Chester is the first stop of the Smithsonian's exhibit, which will be traveling to other locations in Illinois to commemorate the state's Bicentennial. It opened Sept. 8 as part of the Popeye Picnic festival and will continue through Oct. 20.

Dr. Debra Reid, a Randolph County native, is co-curator of the display. She is currently curator of agriculture and the environment at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

"It's appropriate that the Chester Public Library help launch the new Museum on Main Street exhibition, Crossroads: Change in Rural America," said Reid. "Chester sits on the mighty Mississippi, the heart of a transportation system that defined the nation. Crossroads encourages us to put that national story into local context, exploring decisions to stay rather than move on, and investigating the strategies that help Illinoisans survive and thrive at their own personal crossroads."

A ceremonial grand opening will occur at 8:30 a.m. today, and Reid presented a free public program on Crossroads this evening.

In addition to the Smithsonian exhibit, the library will host programs on the subject of "Change Through A Local Lens", featuring Kaskaskia, the Mississippi River, local farms and more. Dr. David Joens, Director of the Illinois State Archives, will present a program at 1 p.m. on Sept. 23 at the library titled "Kaskaskia and the Road To Statehood."

A public program on "The Farmer Is The Man" will be presented by Chris Vallillo, singer/songwriter and folk musician, at 7 p.m. Oct. 2. The program will be partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. The Chester Public Library will host local historian Shane Wagner who will speak on "History and Mystery -- Randolph County Folklore" at 7 p.m. Oct. 16.

Tammy Grah, executive librarian at Chester Public Library, along with her staff, the Friends of the Library and local trained volunteers will be on hand through Oct. 20 to help in facilitating tours of the Smithsonian display. For additional information, visit www.chesterpubliclibrary.com