Museum on Main Street: A Love Letter to Small-Town America (Museums in Strange Places S02 E09)
About half of all museums in the US are in small towns in rural America. Each of these museums holds stories and objects that are worth preserving and sharing, but they don’t always have the funding and infrastructure they need to operate and innovate. That’s where
Museum on Main Street comes in. This Smithsonian program brings traveling exhibits to small towns for six weeks at a time. But the exhibit materials are just the catalyst for a much bigger experience, an experience that leaves these towns empowered to use culture to build stronger communities. In this episode, I hear from folks in DC, Massachusetts, Florida, Iowa, and Minnesota about the impact of Museum on Main Street.
Interested in starting a podcast at your organization? Check out my book,
. Your Museum Needs a Podcast: A Step-By-Step Guide to Podcasting on a Budget for Museums, History Organizations, and Cultural Nonprofits How to Listen to Museums in Strange Places
Welcome to Museums in Strange Places. I’m your host, Hannah Hethmon, a museum consultant specializing in podcasting for museums, and this is a podcast for people who love museums, stories, culture, and exploring the world.
I believe that museums are one of the best ways to discover a place, whether it’s your first time visiting or you’ve lived there your whole life. Join me on this adventure as I get to know the world….one museum as a time.
In this season of the podcast, I’m visiting the museums of Maryland to discover what stories they hold and how they reflect and shape this state’s unique cultural identity.
You can find and follow me/the podcast on Twitter and Instagram
@hannah_rfh (I love to hear from listeners FYI).
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Museum on Main Street
audio stories collected by Museum on Main Street
Museum on Main Street’s Exhibition Planning Guide, created by Grove History Consulting, who sponsors Museums in Strange Places.
Learn more about
Water Bar, as described in the episode by Shanai Matteson.
Find out more about the humanities councils referenced in this episode:
Mass Humanities, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, Minnesota Humanities Center, Florida Humanities Council, Maryland Humanities Council, Humanities Iowa
Video Documentary J-Term Class Creates Videos for Hometown Teams Exhibit“
Lanesboro to Host Traveling Smithsonian Exhibit”
USF, Museum Highlight History Of Sulphur Springs“
“Smithsonian’s ‘Hometown Teams’ coming to MV“
Water Ways exhibit brings impact of local rivers to light“
Photos from the Museum on Main Street Program
Museum on Main Street director Carol Harsh leads an installation of Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America at the Banneker-Douglass Museum in Annapolis, Maryland, 2016. Volunteers in Mount Vernon, Iowa celebrated the arrival of the crates containing Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America, 2018. A family visits Journey Stories at the Creek Council House Museum in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, 2009. Courtesy Oklahoma Humanities. Residents of Newkirk, Oklahoma participate in a walking tour of local exhibitions in store windows developed to complement the town library’s showing of Journey Stories, 2009. Courtesy Oklahoma Humanities. Museum on Main Street director Carol Harsh (right) conducts a tour of Journey Stories at the Creek Council House Museum in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, 2009. Courtesy Oklahoma Humanities. Mass Humanities director Brian Boyles (left) and a local coordinator participate in the installation of Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America in Winnsboro, Louisiana. Courtesy Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Local volunteers participate in the installation of Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America in Mount Vernon, Iowa, 2018. Volunteers work on installing local companion exhibitions as Mount Vernon, Iowa prepares to host Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America, 2018. Chilkat dancers participate in a program during the Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center’s showing of New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music in Haines, Alaska, 2009. Courtesy Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center. Regional stories are the focus of every local exhibition. The presentation that complemented New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music in Tumon, Guam highlighted traditions in the island’s Palauan community. Courtesy of Humanities Guahan. Museum on Main Street director Carol Harsh leads an installation of New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music in Abita Springs, Louisiana, 2008. Courtesy Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Museum on Main Street director Carol Harsh (left) chats with SITES manager of public relations Jennifer Schommer at preview for Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America, 2014. SITES project director Sara Artes (left) and Museum on Main Street project director Robbie Davis demonstrate how to assemble a touchscreen computer kiosk used in Water/Ways, Franklin Grove, Illinois, 2016. Museum on Main Street project director Robbie Davis (center on ladder) helps install Water/Ways in Franklin Grove, Illinois, 2016. A Crossroads: Change in Rural America visitor at the Union County Carnegie Library in Union, South Carolina, 2018. Many Museum on Main Street hosts kick off their festivities with a good old fashioned ribbon cutting. In Union, South Carolina, a showing of Crossroads: Change in Rural America was the centerpiece of the reopening of the Union County Carnegie Library, 2018. Visitors to Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America in Dade City, Florida, 2018. Courtesy Florida Humanities Council. A local mascot visits Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America in Dade City, Florida, 2018. Courtesy Florida Humanities Council. Visitors to Museum on Main Street’s Water/Ways exhibition in Minnesota, 2016. Courtesy Minnesota Humanities Center. The Museum on Main Street team receives the 2017 Smithsonian Education Innovation Award. From left, then Smithsonian Secretary Dr. David Skorton, curatorial assistant Tiffany Cheng, registrar Terri Cobb, director Carol Harsh, youth programs coordinator Shannon Sullivan, project director Robbie Davis, and assistant project director Selwyn Ramp. Local sign advertising showing of Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America in Nebraska City, Nebraska, 2015. Courtesy Humanities Nebraska.