GLASGOW – The South Central Kentucky Cultural Center will host the Smithsonian exhibit “Crossroads: Changes in Rural America” April 10 to May 15.
The traveling Smithsonian exhibit is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Kentucky Humanities Council.
The Cultural Center is partnering with the Mary Wood Weldon Memorial Library to present the exhibit, which will focus on changes that have occurred from 1900 to 2000.
The exhibit will feature several sections, starting with one titled “Identity.”
“Every person has a story to tell. We are all history makers. What does rural mean to me? And then changes over that time period in rural America in the way we look at gender, race, class and ethnicity is part of it,” said Sherry Wesley, executive director of the Cultural Center, which is along West Water Street.
Another section of the exhibit is titled “Land.” It focuses on how rural and urban people view land ownership and what it means to each.
A third section is titled “Community.”
“Communities were formed around agriculture efforts, and again comparing your community in the present with the exhibit and looking at how much do our rural communities still focus on agriculture. Challenges that rural communities face. And then how do rural areas manage change?” Wesley said.
The exhibit will be on display in the Cultural Center’s first floor meeting room.
The Cultural Center and the library have been asked to do programs by the Kentucky Humanities Council to support the theme of rural America in addition to the Smithsonian exhibit.
One of those is about the Kentucky cave wars, which is a virtual program that has been put together by Mammoth Cave National Park. It tells the history of Mammoth Cave and how it came to be what it is now, starting pre-1900 until present-day.
“That is accessible on our Facebook page,” she said.
The Cultural Center will also have on display local exhibits, including one put together by Cultural Center volunteer June Jackson about American Revolutionary War veterans and their descendants.
Jackson has also put together a small exhibit on schools of the area, and local historian Sam Terry will be doing a virtual program on the development of schools and education in the area.
“He is also going to do a cemetery tour. People will have to call here and make reservations because he will only be able to take 20 to 25 people at the most, so it will be pretty limited,” Wesley said.
The cemetery tour will be at Glasgow Municipal Cemetery along Leslie Avenue. To register for the cemetery tour, call the Cultural Center at 270-651-9792.
Also, the E41 Region 3 Research Group has put together a booklet titled “Voices of the Segregated Past.”
“This organization was the high school organization for Black high schools from 1932 to 1958 pre-desegregation and there are several living players still around that they have interviewed about their experiences. They have done other research and put together lots of pictures and then written up their information,” she said.
“The idea is to distribute these booklets to area libraries, schools and museums and then copies to the living players and the research committee themselves. That is going to come to a little over 200 booklets.”
Copies of the booklets will be available for viewing at the Cultural Center, the library and at the Ralph Bunche Community Center along Bunche Avenue, but there won’t be enough for everyone to have copies of their own.
“Because of COVID we will have public hours and we will have appointment hours, so if people are uncomfortable being here when there are potentially more people during public hours, they can call and schedule an appointment,” she said.
“We do require a mask and social distancing throughout regardless of what’s going on at that time.”
As for the programs being offered by the library in conjunction with the Smithsonian exhibit, the library has a virtual art show titled “My Rural Home” that is available for viewing on its YouTube channel.
On April 15, the program “Basket Making in Rural Kentucky” will be presented by southcentral Kentucky basket maker Beth Hester.
“It will be the history and evolution of basket making in this area,” said Amy Tollison, manager of adult programs for the library.
LaToya Drake, who is Barren County’s Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences, will present a workshop on April 16 titled “Canning 101: Jellies and Jams” free via Zoom.
The first 30 participants to sign up will receive a program incentive kit. For more information about the workshop, call 270-651-2824 or stop by the library along South Green Street.
Both programs will be filmed and made available on the library’s YouTube channel, as well as on the Cultural Center’s website.
At 6:30 p.m. on April 27, the library will host a discussion of the book “Hannah Coulter” by Wendell Berry as a live, virtual event via Zoom.
The moderator of the book discussion will be professor Katrina Eicher with the Elizabethtown Community and Technical College. The discussion is part of the Kentucky Reads program supported the Kentucky Humanities Council.
The library will have copies of the book available for those who wish to participate, as well as reading guides and the Zoom link for the book discussion, Tollison said.