The Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street, in cooperation with the Maryland Humanities Council, presents “Crossroads: Change in Rural America.” The exhibit which examines the evolving landscape of rural American, opens at St. Paul’s Church, 225 S. Morris St. in Oxford on October 29, 2022. “Crossroads” will be on view through December 16. The Oxford Museum, St. Pauls, and the surrounding community has been expressly chosen by the Maryland 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.
“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%. This 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’ allows us to reflect on the Eastern Shore’s history, present and future and we are excited to explore what the future may hold for our community,” said Stuart Parnes, exhibit curator.
“We want to convene conversations about what makes our community unique and have developed public programs to complement the Smithsonian exhibition.” 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.
Scheduled through the Fall, these activities kick off with a visit to a local farm Cox with owner/farmer Steve Cox scheduled for September 17 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm. Participants will have a first-hand opportunity to hear perspectives on the impact of transitions from family to agri-businesses and learn how local farm practices have evolved to minimize their impact on the environment. Space is limited. Please RSVP by email to the Oxford Museum firstname.lastname@example.org. The farm’s address will be shared with those making a reservation.
Future activities include a program about what it was like to grow up on a farm and what changes have occurred in the last 50 years, and a program about the canning industry from its heyday beginning at the end of the 20th century, to its demise. Both programs are in partnership with the Oxford Community Center with specific information on both posted on the Museum’s website (www.oxfordmuseummd.org) and the Oxford Community Center’s website (www.oxfordcc.org) as details are finalized.
Major support for Crossroads comes from Maryland Humanities and Stories of the Chesapeake.