The Smithsonian's Museum on Main Street, in cooperation with the Idaho Humanities Council and the Latah County Historical Society, presents "Crossroads: Change in Rural America." The exhibition examining the evolving landscape of rural America opens at the Moscow Chamber of Commerce office at 411 S. Main Street on Friday, August 23rd. "Crossroads" will be on view through October 4th. 

Moscow and the surrounding community have been expressly chosen by the Idaho Humanities Council to host "Crossroads" 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 six communities in Idaho from August 2019 through June 2020. 

"Crossroads" explores how rural American communities changed in the 20th century. From sea to shining sea, the vast majority of the United States landscape remains rural with only 3.5% of the landmass considered urban. 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. These places where people gather to exchange goods, services, and culture and to engage in political and community discussions are an important part of our cultural fabric. 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. 

"'Crossroads' explores themes that are incredibly relevant to the lives of folks in Latah County, including the ways that land impacts personal identity, how change is constantly reshaping our communities, and how towns in our region have sustained themselves and reimagined their futures over time," said Latah County Historical Society Executive Director Dulce Kersting-Lark. "We want to convene conversations about what makes our community unique and are developing local exhibitions and public programs to compliment this Smithsonian exhibit." Details about companion programs are forthcoming. 

Designed for small-town museums, libraries, and cultural organizations, "Crossroads" will serve as a community meeting place for conversations about how rural America has changed. With the support and guidance of the Idaho Humanities Council, Latah County Historical Society will develop complementary exhibits, host public programs, and facilitate educational initiatives to enhance people's understanding of their own history, the joys and challenges of rural living, how change has impacted the communities of Latah County, and prompt discussions of goals for the future. 

The exhibition is part of Museum of Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the U.S. Congress, including Senators Mike Crapo and James E. Risch, and Representative Russ Fulcher

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian Institution 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. 

Crossroads Events

 

History Happy Hour, Pt 1 - Company Town Legacy: Potlatch at the Crossroads with Diane Kelly-Riley

Tuesday, August 27 - 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

The Garden Lounge in the historic Moscow Hotel, 313 S. Main St
 

What happens to the Company Town when the Company leaves? Kelly-Riley’s presentation will highlight the ways people from Potlatch, Idaho sustained their community--once home to the world's largest White Pine mill--after the closure of the lumber mill in 1981. Through a selection of oral histories, the experiences of people who have worked hard to sustain the community of Potlatch will be showcased, particularly those active in the economic and cultural revitalization efforts of the annual Return to Riverside music festival.

Diane Kelly-Riley is an Associate Professor of English and an Associate Dean for the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Idaho. She has lived in Potlatch for more than 20 years.

In order to further conversations about how the national trends highlighted in the exhibit relate to Latah County, LCHS has organized “History Happy Hours,” a series of free presentations from local and regional experts.

Divided Loyalties & Tribal Rights with Amy Canfield

Wednesday, August 28 - 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Moscow Public Library, 110 S. Jefferson Street
 

"Divided Loyalties & Tribal Rights: Agriculture and Irrigation at the Fort Hall Indian Reservation" with Amy Canfield, Professor of history at Lewis-Clark State College. Learn how the history of the west has been shaped in almost every way by water.

Amy Canfield is a Professor of history at Lewis-Clark State College. She earned her Ph.D. from Washington State University in 2008. She teaches courses in women’s history, American Indian history, history of the American West, and U.S. popular culture. She has published articles in the Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Journal of the West, Idaho Yesterdays, and the Journal of American Culture. She has also served as a consultant for the Center for the State of the Parks, conducting cultural resource assessments on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Vicksburg National Military Park, and Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Moscow Public Library and the Idaho Humanities Council, and in partnership with the Latah County Historical Society’s Crossroads: Change In Rural America.

Big Meadow Creek Reflections

Tuesday, September 3 - 5:30 PM – 7 PM

Big Meadow Creek Alpacas in Troy, Idaho

1021 McKeehan Rd, Troy, Idaho 83871

Celebrate the history, legacy, and exciting conservation news of the Neuman Easement, permanently protected since 2013. This special property protects 49 acres of working forestland, vibrant wildlife habitat, and critical steelhead spawning grounds. We invite the community to learn more about it's history, updates on restoration projects, and bright plans for the future.

Enjoy light appetizers and refreshments at this free, family-friendly event featuring short presentations from landowner Judy LaLonde, Latah County Historical Society, Palouse Land Trust, and Idaho Department of Fish and Game, followed by a short walking tour of the property.

History Happy Hour, Pt 2 - The Crossroads as Witness: Hope, Silence, and the Rural Ideal with Rochelle Johnson, Ph.D

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN INDEFINITELY POSTPONED DUE TO A PERSONAL EMERGENCY WITH THE SPEAKER. 
One World Cafe, 533 S. Main St

 

The Crossroads exhibit invites us to consider how understandings of “rural” have shifted throughout American history. Dr. Johnson will discuss the ways in which rural landscapes reveal aspects of the nation’s story, both the celebrated and the silenced. The landscape itself speaks to our past struggles, present challenges, and hopes for the future.

Dr. Johnson teaches American literature and the environmental humanities at The College of Idaho. A scholar of American environmental aesthetics, Dr. Johnson writes about historic understandings of the relationship between humanity and the physical world.

In order to further conversations about how the national trends highlighted in the exhibit relate to Latah County, LCHS has organized “History

Happy Hours,” a series of free presentations from local and regional experts.

History Happy Hour, Pt 3 - Art, Food, & Heritage: Marketing Small Town Charm for Big Economic Impact with Lorie Higgins

Monday, September 30 - 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Colter's Creek Winery - Moscow Tasting Room, 215 S. Main St

Lorie Higgins is a professor of Rural Sociology and Community Development at University of Idaho. Her work focuses on a number of components related to rural success, including leadership development, community-based planning, and entrepreneurship. In 2007 her research led her to launch the Artisan Trails project, focused on art business development and marketing.  Then in 2012, the first Artisan Trails brochure for the region was created with the goal of linking local art, food and heritage assets for the benefit of visitors as well as area residents who might not be aware of the impressive resources in their backyard. An updated and expanded version of the guide is launching this fall with helpful new features. Lorie will discuss all of this and more in this final installment of the History Happy Hour series.

School Tours of Crossroads

 

An exciting learning opportunity will be arriving in Moscow in late August of this year. Crossroads: Change in Rural America is a Smithsonian-curated traveling exhibit that is being brought to the Gem State by Idaho Humanities Council and coordinated in our region by Latah County Historical Society (LCHS) and Moscow Chamber of Commerce. The exhibit will be on display in downtown Moscow from August 23rd to October 4th.

 

Crossroads explores how rural American communities changed in the 20th century. From sea to shining sea, the vast majority of the United States landscape remains rural with only 3.5% of the landmass considered urban. Since 1900, the percentage of Americans living in rural areas has dropped, however, 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. These places where people gather to exchange goods, services, and culture, as well as to engage in political and community discussions, are an important part of our cultural fabric. 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.

Crossroads offers small towns a chance to look at their own paths and to highlight the changes that affected their fortunes over the past century. The exhibition will prompt discussions about what happened when America’s rural population became a minority of the country’s population and the ripple effects that occurred. Themes within the exhibit include change, identity, resilience, sense of place, land use and ownership, community, and innovation

Our hope is that during the six-week exhibition we will be able to host a number of school group visits. The content covered in Crossroads is appropriate for all ages, but would likely be most accessible to students in advanced elementary grades, middle school, and high school. All tours will be offered free of charge and guided by a staff member or volunteer from the historical society. Resources related to the exhibition’s themes will be made available to teachers who are interested in extending conversations into their classrooms.

In an effort to engage as many classrooms as possible, LCHS is making travel scholarships available to Latah County classrooms located outside of Moscow. Through the generosity of a Latah County Community Foundation grant, LCHS can offer $100 stipends to off-set the cost of bus transportation. Please find the application below.

LCHS works hard to bring learning opportunities such as Crossroads to the region. The forthcoming exhibit is part of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street project, an “outreach program that engages small town audiences and brings revitalized attention to underserved rural communities.” For many, Museum on Main Street exhibits are their first exposure to American’s official museum system. By bringing Crossroads to Moscow, LCHS hopes to spark curiosity among the next generation of museum-goers and pay a role in the lifelong learning of those in our communities.

We sincerely hope that you will consider making a trip to visit Crossroads: Change in Rural America part of your fall lesson plans. Please contact us if you would like to learn more or schedule your visit. We would be more than happy to help coordinate visits to other historic locations in Moscow during your field trip.

© 2019 by the Latah County Historical Society.

  • Twitter - Black Circle
  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Instagram - Black Circle