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Exhibit Open to the Public

January 28, 2021, through March 5, 2021

The Independence Public Library in partnership with the Independence Historical Museum and Art Center in Independence is hosting “Crossroads: Change in Rural America,” a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition. “Crossroads” will be in Independence from January 23, 2021 to March 7, 2021 at the Independence Historical Museum and Art Center (123 N. 8th). The “Crossroads” Kansas tour is sponsored by Humanities Kansas in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street program.

The Independence Public Library will build on the photographs, hands-on activities, and audio and video clips provided by the Smithsonian in the “Crossroads” exhibition to tell the history and culture of local rural life in Kansas and spark conversations about our state’s future. Together with the Historical Museum and Art Center, and collaboration with the Independence Chamber of Commerce and Independence Main Street, the coalition will build a companion exhibit showcasing, Independence’s rich history.

“Crossroads” tours six Kansas communities in 2020-2021. Other Smithsonian hosts include: Bowlus Fine Arts Center/Allen County Historical Society, Iola; 5.4.7 Arts Center, Greensburg; Kauffman Museum, North Newton; The Volland Store, Alma; and Norton County Arts Council, Norton.

“Through a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street program, Humanities Kansas is able to bring the resources of the nation’s premier cultural institution to Kansas,“ said Julie Mulvihill, executive director of Humanities Kansas. “The six communities were selected because of the inspired plans provided by local organizations to use the national exhibition as a springboard to explore local stories of innovation and adaptation.”

In addition to the six sites hosting the Smithsonian, eight communities will create their own exhibitions and programming to explore what it means to live rural in the 21st century, the relationship between rural, suburban, and urban, and the progress and persistence needed by communities of all sizes to thrive. Participating communities include Ellinwood, Hays, Lebanon, Colby, El Dorado, Council Grove, Onaga, and Olathe.

Humanities Kansas sponsors the “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” initiative in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street program, a one-of-a-kind cultural project that serves small towns and residents of rural communities. To learn more about the “Crossroads” statewide tour visit

For more information about “Crossroads” in Independence contact the library at 620.331.3030 or visit


Humanities Kansas is an independent nonprofit spearheading a movement of ideas to empower the people of Kansas to strengthen their communities and our democracy. Since 1972, our pioneering programming, grants, and partnerships have documented and shared stories to spark conversations and generate insights. Together with our partners and supporters, we inspire all Kansans to draw on history, literature, ethics, and culture to enrich their lives and serve the communities and state we all proudly call home.

Crossroad Events

Register for the events HERE!

Small Business Conference – Wednesday, January 27, 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Crossroads Exhibit Opens – Thursday, January 28, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Heartland Book Discussion – Tuesday, February 2, 6:00 PM (books available for check out at IPL)

When Freedom Changed America – Friday, February 12, 7:00 PM (In Person at Museum)

Family Yoga – Saturday, February 13, 10:00 AM

Water, Energy, and Rural Kansas – Thursday, February 18, 6:00 PM

A Boomerang’s Approach to Reimagining Rural Tourism – Thursday, February 25, 6:00 PM

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