Rural America is often painted in broad strokes. Small towns have been hit hard by population declines as more Americans flock to urban and suburban areas, and unemployment and the opioid crisis has been rough on small, financially-strapped communities.
But the reality of life in rural America is far from this sweeping image of "doom and gloom." A new Smithsonian exhibit called “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” aims to add some dimension to those images – and generate conversations about rural history, identity and visions for the future.
Localized exhibitions are traveling across the United States. One of the co-curators of the national exhibit, Dr. Ann McCleary, is a professor at the University of West Georgia and, in partnership with Georgia Humanities, helped bring the exhibit to Georgia.
On Second Thought spoke with Lori Smith, President of the Thomaston-Upson Chamber of Commerce, and Robbie Davis, Project Director for the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street traveling exhibition service, about how the show is already changing Thomaston.
The exhibit will show in Thomaston until Oct. 4, and then will travel to McRae-Helena, Monticello, Cuthbert, Summerville and Blue Ridge. Full tour information can be found on the Crossroads website.
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