#RuralCrossroads #NebraskaCrossroads

Crossroads: Change in Rural America

Broken Bow, 1886
Photo by Solomon Butcher
Courtesy of Library of Congress

Now touring Nebraska through June 2022! 

In 1900, about 40% of Americans lived in rural areas. By 2010, less than 18% of the U.S. population lived in rural areas. In just over a century, massive economic and social changes moved millions of Americans into urban areas. Yet, only 10% of the U.S. landmass is considered urban. 

Many Americans consider rural communities to be endangered and hanging on by a thread—suffering from brain drain, inadequate schools, and a barren, overused landscape. Why should revitalizing the rural places left behind matter to those who remain? Those who left? And those who will come in the future? Because there is much more to the story of rural America. 

Crossroads: Change in Rural America offers small towns a chance to look at their own paths to highlight the changes that affected their fortunes over the past century. The exhibition will prompt discussions about what happened when America’s rural population became a minority of the country’s population and the ripple effects that occurred. 

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. Economic innovation and a focus on the cultural facets that make small towns unique, comfortable, and desirable have helped many communities create their own renaissance. The future is bright for much of rural America as small towns embrace the notion that their citizens and their cultural uniqueness are important assets. . 

Selected sites will host the exhibit for about six weeks each between September 2021 and April 2022, with support and materials from Humanities Nebraska and the Smithsonian. For more information, contact Mary Yager at (402) 474-2131 or [email protected].

Dawes County Historical Society Museum
341 Country Club Road
Chadron, Nebraska

Monday: 10 a.m – 4 p.m.
Tuesday: 10 a.m – 4 p.m.
Wednesday: 10 a.m – 4 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m – 4 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m – 4 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m – 4 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m – 5 p.m.

Plains Historical Society Museum
816 East 3rd Street
Kimball, Nebraska

Mon-Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

September 11, 9 a.m.: Kick-off event, Plains Historical Society Museum

September 15, 6:30 p.m.:
  Kimball Area Business Then and Now, Kimball Transit Building Conference Room

September 16, 6:30 p.m.:   Nebraska’s Agricultural History, Kimball Public Library

September 17, 7 p.m.:       Saving A Legacy: Japanese and Japanese Americans in Nebraska, Kimball Public Library

September 22, 6:30 p.m.:  Kimball Area Agriculture Then and Now, Kimball Transit  Building Conference Room

Johnson County Historical Society Museum
289 Clay Street
Tecumseh, Nebraska

Tuesday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sunday: 12 noon – 4 p.m.

Special Events:

Oct. 11, 7 p.m. Dana Rautenbach, Smart Chicken

Oct. 13, 7 p.m., Christy Hodges, Johnson County Central FFA

Oct. 16, 10 a.m., Deer Creek Sodbusters

Oct. 16, 11 a.m. History of Nebraska F,armer magazine

Oct. 16, 1 p.m., Homestead National Park

Oct. 16, 2 p.m., Stories of YES

Oct. 16 –  Food Trucks

Oct. 18, 7 p.m., Wayne Price, Rural Electric

Oct. 20, 7 p.m., Bev Ramsey & Sara Went, Small Business Success in Rural America

Oct. 25, 7 p.m., Vicky Gobber, History of Elk Creek

Oct. 27, 7 p.m., Lavon Heidemann, Niobium Mining

Nov. 1, 7 p.m., Fred Boumert, Rural Water

Nov. 3, 7 p.m., Downtown Tecumseh Revitalization & Street Preservation

Nov. 8, 7 p.m., Tecumseh Correctional Facility

Nov. 10, 7 p.m., Lonnie Damme, History of Cook

Falls City Library and Arts Center Stalder Gallery
1400 Stone Street
Falls City, Nebraska

Monday 9 am – 6 pm
Tuesday 10 am – 7 pm
Wednesday 9 am – 6 pm
Thursday 10 am – 7 pm
Friday 9 am – 5:30 pm
Saturday closed (except November 27 open from 9 am – 12 pm)
Sunday closed
Book Discussion “News of the World”: 
Paulette Jiles discusses her book at the Falls City Library and Arts Center, December 16 at 2 pm.

Wisner Senior Center
1006 Avenue E
Wisner, NE 68791

National Willa Cather Center
425 N Webster Street
Red Cloud, NE 

Tuesday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Wednesday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Companion exhibit: 

Our Changing Main Street depicts the changes in Red Cloud’s business district in its first hundred years. Included are thirty-seven artifacts and 118 historic photos that are visually arresting and also invite comment and collaboration with local citizens, past and present. Also on display at the National Willa Cather Center.

Keystone Business Center
402 Norris Ave
McCook, Nebraska

Monday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Tuesday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Wednesday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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"Crossroads" is brought to Nebraska with the help of these generous sponsors:


We welcome  additional sponsors for this traveling exhibition!

Your name and/or business logo will be added here when you sponsor Crossroads!

Please call Heather Thomas at 402.474.2131 for more information

"Crossroads: Change in Rural America" is made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities special initiative, "A More Perfect Union."

“A More Perfect Union” was created to advance civic education and commemorate the nation’s 250th Anniversary with a goal of helping American’s better understand the world’s oldest constitutional democracy and how our founding ideals are met in a pluralistic society.