Triana officials and other representatives attended the opening of the Smithsonian exhibit, “Crossroads: Change in Rural America.” These individuals included Mayor Mary Caudle, front row, from left; Jurlene Rogers and Madge Griffin, Triana Historical Society Board members; Cheryl Walker, Williams Middle School; Betty Williams, President, Triana Historical Society; Laura Anderson, Alabama Humanities Alliance; Ola Ayers and Valerie Moore, Triana Historical Society Board members; and Chris McDowell. Erin Dunsmore, TVA, back row, from left; and David R Young, Wheeler Wildlife Refuge. Not pictured, Paul McDowell and Theresa Nelson, Triana Historical Society Board member. CONTRIBUTED

Triana welcomes opening of Smithsonian exhibit

TRIANA – Residents, Triana town officials and local agency representatives applauded the opening of the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition, “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” on Feb.15.

Triana Mayor Mary Caudle welcomed the audience to the event at the newly restored Triana Health Clinic. Featured speakers included David R. Young with Wheeler Wildlife Refuge, Laura Anderson with Alabama Humanities Alliance and Betty Williams, President of Triana Historical Society.

The exhibit highlights the evolving landscape of rural America. Triana Historical Society has partnered with Triana Public Library to bring this exhibition to North Alabama. The exhibit will be open in Triana through April 12.

The exhibit, associated with the Smithsonian’s initiative, Museum on Main Street, is presented in cooperation with Alabama Humanities Alliance.

The exhibition is in place at Triana Health Clinic, 297 Stone St. SW, and open to the public on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 1 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. Select portions of the exhibition will be on display at Triana Public Library during regular operating hours.

Following the ribbon cutting, the audience toured the Crossroads exhibit and attended a reception at Triana Public Library.

“‘Crossroads’ allows us to reflect on Triana’s history, present and future, and we are excited to explore what the future may hold for our community,” Betty Williams with Triana Historical Society said. “We want to convene conversations about what makes our community unique and have developed local exhibitions and public programs to complement the Smithsonian exhibition.”

“Specifically, we looked to spotlighting significant figures in the community to coincide with Black History Month,” Williams said. Local schools and homeschooling organizations are encouraged to schedule field trips during the six weeks that the exhibit is in Triana.

Alabama Humanities Alliance expressly chose the health clinic and surrounding community to host “Crossroads.” The originating agency, Museum on Main Street involves national, state and local entities to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations.

Designed for small-town expositions, “Crossroads” serves as a community meeting place for conversations about the ways that rural America has changed. These towns will develop educational initiatives to raise people’s understanding of their own history, joys/challenges of rural life, changes’ effect on the community and future goals.

As evidenced in “Crossroads,” most of the U.S. landscape remains rural, with only 3.5 percent considered urban. However, since 1900, the percentage of Americans living in rural areas has dropped from 60 percent to 17 percent.

Triana itself saw a growth of 482.7 percent between 2010 and 2020 censuses, making the town a perfect location for this exhibit.

The U.S. Congress supports Museum on Main Street. For more information, visit museumonmainstreet.org.

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