Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Examining Democracy in America Coming to Osceola



Local Contact: Ashleigh Eckels, 641-342-4200, [email protected]

State Council Contact: Robin Bostrom, (515) 348-6176, [email protected]

Smithsonian Contact: Jennifer Schommer, (202) 633-3121; [email protected]

8/31/2020


Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Examining Democracy in America Coming to Osceola


    The Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street, in cooperation with Osceola Chamber Main Street and Main Street Iowa presents “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America.” The exhibition examines the nearly 250-year-old American experiment of a government “of, by and for the people,” and how each generation since continues to question how to form “a more perfect union.” Opening at 127 S Main Street (former Robinson’s Building) on October 15th “Voices and Votes” will be on view through November 21st.

    Main Street Osceola and the surrounding community has been chosen by Main Street Iowa to host “Voices and Votes” as part of the Museum on Main Street program—a national/state/local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations. The exhibition will tour four communities in Iowa from July through January.

    “Voices and Votes” explores the action, reaction, vision and revision that democracy demands as Americans continue to question how to shape the country. From the revolution and suffrage, to civil rights and casting ballots, everyone in every community is part of this ever-evolving story—the story of democracy in America. Exhibition sections explore the origins of American democracy, the struggles to obtain and keep the vote, the machinery of democracy, the right to petition and protest beyond the ballot and the rights and responsibilities of citizens. “Voices and Votes” features historical and contemporary photos; educational and archival video; engaging multimedia interactives with short games; and historical objects like campaign souvenirs, voter memorabilia, and protest material.

     “‘Voices and Votes’ allows us to reflect on Osceola’s history and explore what it means to be an active participant in the governance of not only the country but also this community,” said Ashleigh Eckels, Osceola Chamber Main Street Executive Director. “We are working to develop local exhibitions and public programs to complement the Smithsonian exhibition.

    Designed for small-town museums, libraries, and cultural organizations, “Voices and Votes” will serve as a community meeting place for conversations about democracy, the freedoms and responsibilities of citizens, participating in government, and more. With the support and guidance of state humanities councils, these towns will develop complementary exhibits, host public programs and facilitate educational initiatives to raise people’s understanding about their own history, the joys and challenges of living rural, how change has impacted their community, and prompt discussion of goals for the future.

    “Voices and Votes” is based on an exhibition currently on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History called American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith.

    The exhibition is part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. To learn more about “Voices” and other Museum on Main Street exhibitions, visit museumonmainstreet.org. 

    Support for MoMS has been provided by the U.S. Congress.

    SITES 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 sites.si.edu.

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127 S Main Street, 641-342-4200, Exhibit Hours Oct 14- Nov 21, Thursday-Saturday, 10am-3pm.
Osceola Chamber Main Street, 115 E Washington Street, 641-342-4200



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