The Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street, in cooperation with Georgia Humanities, presents “Crossroads: Change in Rural America.” The exhibition examining the evolving landscape of rural American opens at the historic Summerville Depot on Saturday, March 7, and will be on view through April 18.
The historic Summerville Depot and the surrounding community has been expressly chosen by Georgia Humanities to host “Crossroads” as part of the Museum on Main Street program — a national/state/local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations. Summerville was selected as one of six host communities in Georgia.
“Crossroads” explores how rural American communities changed in the 20th century. From sea to shining sea, the vast majority of the United States landscape remains rural with only 3.5% of the landmass considered urban. Since 1900, the percentage of Americans living in rural areas dropped from 60% to 17%. The exhibition looks at that remarkable societal change and how rural Americans responded.
Americans have relied on rural crossroads for generations. These places where people gather to exchange goods, services, and culture and to engage in political and community discussions are an important part of our cultural fabric. Despite the massive economic and demographic impacts brought on by these changes, America’s small towns continue to creatively focus on new opportunities for growth and development.
“‘Crossroads’ allows us to reflect on Summerville’s and Chattooga County’s history, present and future and we are excited to explore what the future may hold for our community,” said Susan Locklear, Summerville Main Street manager and site director. “We want to convene conversations about what makes our community unique and have developed local exhibitions and public programs to complement the Smithsonian exhibition.”
The March 7 opening day for the exhibition will include grand opening ceremonies beginning at 11 a.m. at the County Courthouse, a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon at the Summerville Depot, an art and photography show at the Civic Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and an art opening at Paradise Garden titled “Summerville Collects: Local Treasures by Howard Finster” opening from 2-40 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the Summerville Depot for 1.5 hour train excursions departing from and returning to the Summerville Depot. Ride times are 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Adult tickets are $19 and for children (ages 2-12) are $13.
Special themed weekends will offer learning, entertainment, and fun. Themes for the six weekends include “Arts All Over” March 7-8, “Music of Rural America” March 14-15, “Old Fashioned Weekend” March 21-22, “Spotlight on Culture” March 28-29, “Agriculture Weekend” April 4-5, “Egg Stravaganza” April 11, and “All American Weekend” April 17-18. The public is invited to a special grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting on March 7, beginning at the County Courthouse at 11 a.m. Art shows, artists, and storytelling on site and live musical performances will highlight the weekend. Train rides by the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum will be available each weekend. The exhibit will be open to the public Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays noon to 5 p.m. Special extended museum hours until 4 p.m. will be offered for train excursion passengers on March 7, 14, and 21.
For more information on exhibition special attractions, activities and events, visit Crossroads: Change in Rural America @ the Summerville Depot GA Facebook page.