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Smithsonian comes to Patrick County with "Crossroads" exhibit that highlights rural America

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“Crossroads: Change in Rural America,” an exhibit of the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street, will open Dec. 4 at the Creative Arts Center in Stuart.

Patrick County is getting a prestigious traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Museum.

The Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS), in cooperation with Virginia Humanities and Virginia Association of Museums, will presents “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” starting Dec. 4.

The exhibit will be at the Reynolds Homestead Creative Arts Center in Stuart through Jan. 9.

Virginia Humanities and Virginia Association of Museums host “Crossroads” as part of the MoMS program, a national/state/local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations, a press release states. The Reynolds Homestead and its surrounding community was one of the locations chosen for the exhibit.

The vast majority of the United States landscape remains rural, with only 3.5% of the landmass considered urban, the release states. Since 1900, the percentage of Americans living in rural areas dropped from 60% to 17%. The exhibition looks at that remarkable societal change and how rural Americans responded.

Americans have relied on rural crossroads for generations, the release states. These places where people gather to exchange goods, services and culture and to engage in political and community discussions are an important part of the cultural fabric, it states.

Despite the massive economic and demographic impacts brought on by these changes, America’s small towns continue to creatively focus on new opportunities for growth and development, the release states.

“‘Crossroads’ allows us to reflect on Patrick County’s history, present and future and we are excited to explore what the future may hold for our community,” stated Rebecca Adcock, Patrick County Chamber of Commerce director, in the release. “We want to convene conversations about what makes our community unique and have developed local exhibitions and public programs to complement the Smithsonian exhibition.”

Those free events include concurrent collections by Bull Mountain Arts, Patrick County Extension, Blue Ridge Regional Library and Patrick County Historical Society and Museum.

Dan River Basin Association and Fairy Stone State Park will lead hikes; Patrick County Music Association and Willis Gap Community Center will feature music events; and Patrick County Heritage Project and Blue Ridge Heritage will present documentary screenings and historical lectures.

Additionally, Reynolds Homestead, One Family Productions, the Patrick County Chamber of Commerce and Stuart Farmers’ Market have aligned their holiday events with the “Crossroads” exhibit. Patrick & Henry Community College will host a dedication of the Reynolds & Baliles Learning Center.

See a full calendar of associated events at virginialovesmuseumsonmainstreet.com/reynolds-homestead/.

MoMS is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation and local host institutions. To learn more about “Crossroads” and other MoMS exhibitions, visit www.museumonmainstreet.org. Support for MoMS has been provided by the U.S. Congress.

“Crossroads” is sponsored locally by Reynolds Homestead, Patrick County Chamber of Commerce and Patrick County Tourism.

SITES, the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service, has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For exhibition description and tour schedules, visit www.sites.si.edu.

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