The opening of the traveling Smithsonian Museum exhibition “Crossroads: Change in Rural America.” Photo via Museum on Main Street’s website.
Sheffield — A traveling exhibit from The Smithsonian Institute exploring changes in rural America will open at the Bushnell-Sage Library in late March.
The exhibit, entitled “Crossroads: Change in Rural America,” is a part of the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street collection, which is a collaboration between the Smithsonian and various state humanities councils. The exhibition has traveled to locations in Delaware, North Carolina, and South Dakota. It is scheduled to travel through six communities in Massachusetts, including its only Berkshire County stop at the Bushnell-Sage Library. The library’s exhibition has been made possible through financial support from Mass Humanities.
According to a press release from the Smithsonian, the exhibition explores how rural communities in America changed in the 20th century. The exhibit will include photographs and artifacts from the history of rural America, along with an interactive kiosk detailing the growth of rural areas across the nation.
Library Director Deena Caswell said that it is very appropriate for Sheffield to be hosting the exhibition’s only Berkshire County stop. “We have seen plenty of changes in Sheffield over the years,” Caswell told The Berkshire Edge. “Representatives from The Smithsonian have told us that only 3.5 percent of the United States landscape is considered urban. Since 1900, the percentage of Americans living in rural areas dropped from 60 percent to 17 percent. The changes in Sheffield have included challenges with our housing and landscape. But Sheffield is a fighting community and it has remained vibrant. This is a community that has responded to lots of these changes by finding ways to preserve its soul as a farming community. We’re all really self-sufficient in this town.”
Caswell said that “there’s a general