Triana chosen for Smithsonian’s ‘Crossroads: Change in Rural America’ exhibit

TRIANA – Alabama Humanities Alliance has selected Triana as a site for “Crossroads: Change in Rural America,” a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian that highlights the changing landscape of the American countryside.

The exhibition is part of Museum on Main Street or MoMS, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, state humanities councils and local host institutions, like Triana Historical Society.

The newly restored Triana Health Clinic will house the Smithsonian exhibit. The exhibition will tour several Alabama communities.

A ribbon cutting for “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” will be held at the historic Triana Health Clinic, 293 Stone St. SW (adjacent to Flamingo Park) on Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. A reception will follow at Triana Public Library, 357 Record St.

The exhibition will be on view through April 12.

“Crossroads” explores changes in rural communities during the 20th Century. Across America, the vast majority of the U.S. landscape remains rural with only 3.5 percent of the landmass considered urban. Since 1900, the percentage of Americans living in rural areas dropped from 60 percent to 17 percent.

Triana itself saw a growth of 482.7 percent between the 2010 and 2020 censuses, making the community a perfect location for this exhibit that looks at that remarkable societal change and how rural Americans responded.

“‘Crossroads’ allows us to reflect on Triana’s history, present and future. We’re 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 look forward to spotlighting significant figures in the community to coincide with Black History Month,” Williams said. “Local schools and home-schooling organizations are encouraged to schedule field trips during the six weeks that the exhibit is in Triana.”

Designed for small-town museums, libraries and cultural groups, the Crossroads exhibit will serve as a community meeting place for conversations. With the support and guidance of state humanities councils, these towns will develop complementary exhibits, host public programs and promote educational initiatives to raise people’s understanding of their own history.

In addition, “Considering Crossroads,” a workshop that explores rural Alabama’s changes, will be conducted on Feb. 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at St. Paul Triana United Methodist Church. Open to the public, the one-day workshop will include a tour for “Crossroads: Change in Rural America.”

The workshop’s presenting scholars will be poets Tina Mozelle Braziel and Jim Braziel, University of Alabama at Birmingham; historian Dr. Julia Brock, University of Alabama; and teaching artist Dr. Allison Upshaw, Stillman College.

Participating educators will receive a $100 stipend and five professional development credits. For workshop information, call 205-558-3992, email landerson@alabamahumanities.org or visit alabamahumanities.org/super-teacher.

For exhibit information, call 256-772-9943, email trianahistoricalsociety@gmail.com or visit museumonmainstreet.org or trianahistoricalsociety.com.

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