Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit coming to Clinton Jan. 3- Feb. 5


Voices and Votes examines the origins of American democracy and the people’s right to vote

CLINTON — Vespasian Warner Public Library will host a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution starting in January.

The Illinois Humanities Council notified the library in early 2020 it was selected as one of the sites in the state for the exhibit, Voices and Votes: Democracy in America.  The exhibit is part of the Smithsonian’s “Museum on Main Street exhibition program.

“It was a two-step application process,” Bobbi Perryman, Warner Library executive director said in 2020.  “We had to write a grant, and then once we got past the first round, we had to write a more in-depth proposal, including how our space could accommodate the exhibit and what local exhibits we’d be putting along with it.”

The library hosted another Smithsonian Institution   exhibit in 2009, “Between Fences.”

Warner Library’s business manager Samantha Rusk attended a training session conducted by the Illinois Humanities Council and the Smithsonian Institution.  During the session, participants learned about how to set up the exhibit and how to put up the library’s own local exhibition as well, which will go along with the Smithsonian exhibit.

Voices and Votes and the Illinois Freedom Project, an examination of the pursuit of civil rights by and for African Americans in Illinois, will be open for viewing during library hours from January 3-February 5, 2022.

Illinois Humanities based its decisions on criteria such as each applicant’s organizational capability, its potential to benefit from the experience and the learning and growth opportunities associated with it, its preliminary plans for companion exhibitions and public programs, the suitability of its venue, the likelihood of community support and participation, and geographic distribution. Preference was given to organizations in communities with fewer than 25,000 residents.

“We’re honored to partner with these six organizations to engage Illinoisans in thought and conversation about the vital role of civic participation in our communities, our state, and our nation,” said Gabrielle Lyon, executive director of Illinois Humanities. “All of these institutions make significant contributions to the communities and regions that they serve, and we’re eager to support and learn from their work.”

• See the complete story in the Friday, Dec. 24, print edition of the Clinton Journal or now in the Journal E-Edition for subscribers.

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