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Crossroads: Change in Rural America
A Smithsonian Exhibit

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.

Crossroads is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and state humanities councils nationwide. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.

Schedule of Events

All events held at
San Luis Valley Museum.

2023 Exhibit Dates
October 16 – November 25

The Five States of Colorado Movie Screening
and Conversation

6:00pm September 22, 2023

Glenn Miller Orchestra Movie Screening and

6:00pm September 29, 2023

Live Music “SLV Community Band” and Conversation
6:00pm October 6, 2023

Grand Opening with Keynote Speaker Dr. Ed Crowther, Emeritus Professor of
History at Adams State University

7:00pm October 20, 2023

Guest speaker: Fort Garland Museum
Director Eric Carpio

7:00pm November 3, 2023

Closing Ceremony Guest speaker: Author
Pete Anderson

7:00pm November 17, 2023
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