Museum on Main Street

Museum on Main Street

Museum on Main Street (MoMS) is a one-of-a-kind cultural project that serves small town museums and residents of rural America. This program is a partnership of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and state humanities councils nationwide. This program is made possible in NC by the North Carolina Humanities Council.

Nationwide, MoMS combines the prestige of Smithsonian Institution exhibitions, the program expertise of state humanities councils, and the remarkable volunteerism and unique histories of small rural towns. MoMS is funded by the United States Congress. 

Want to know more about Museum on Main Street tours past and present? Check our our interactive tour map!

Water/Ways is the Council's 2020-2021 Smithsonian exhibit. It dives into water--an essential component of life on our planet, environmentally, culturally, and historically.

In societies across the globe, water serves as a source of peace and contemplation. Many faiths revere water as a sacred symbol. Authors and artists are inspired by the complex character of water – a substance that is seemingly soft and graceful that is yet a powerful and nearly unstoppable force.

Water also plays a practical role in American society. The availability of water affected settlement and migration patterns. Access to water and control of water resources have long been a central part of political and economic planning. Human creativity and resourcefulness provide new ways of protecting water resources and renewing respect for the natural environment.

Click here to learn how you can support rural communities through this exceptional program.

Water/Ways Tour Schedule (updated 5.4.20)

July 14 2020 - Aug 24, 2020                         Macon County Public Library

Aug 30, 2020 - Oct 10, 2020                         Wake Forest Historical Museum

Oct 16, 2020 - Nov 29, 2020                         NC Estuarium

Dec 4, 2020 - Jan 18 2021                            Wrightsville Beach Museum

Jan 24 2021 - March 5, 2021                        Alamance Community College

March 13, 2021 - April 25, 2021                    Yancey County Public Library

*Dates and locations may be subject to change 


The Council is proud to have the following sponsors for our Water/Ways tour:




The Way We Worked our 2018 tour features American workers perform a diverse array of jobs to power our society. Whether we work for professional satisfaction and personal growth or to ensure the well-being of ourselves and our families, work is a part of nearly every American’s life. Office workers, factory workers, homemakers, truckers and the millions more who keep the nation going through their work make great contributions not only to industry, but also to American culture. The Way We Worked is brought to North Carolina by the North Carolina Humanities Council and made possible by support from the Porter Durham Family


Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America offers rural communities in North Carolina the opportunity to understand the value of sports in history ranging from ancient Cherokee Indians with anetso, the ancestor of modern day lacrosse to current
day professional teams such as the Carolina Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes. The aim of the exhibitions are to educate, celebrate, and highlight how sports can alter community development and create discussion and change throughout history.  Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America, toured six sites in North Carolina throughout 2015.


Journey Stories our 2012 Museum on Main Stree (MoMS) exhibition, examined the tales of how we and our ancestors came to America – are a central element of our personal heritage. From Native Americans to new American citizens and regardless of our ethnic or racial background, everyone has a story to tell. Our history is filled with stories of people leaving behind everything – families and possessions – to reach a new life in another state, across the continent, or even across an ocean.



New Harmonies our 2010 tour took visitors on a journey through the development of Americans' creative expression through music. The music that emerges is known by names such as blues, country western, folk ballads, and gospel. The main beat of this exhibition, is the on-going cultural process that has made America the birthplace of more music than any place on earth.