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Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition – Voices and Votes

North Carolina Humanities is touring the Smithsonian Institution’s Voices and Votes: Democracy in America exhibition in North Carolina in 2024 – 2025!

Photo from naturalization of Monticello 2013

About "Voices and Votes"

When American revolutionaries waged a war for independence they took a leap of faith that sent ripple effects across generations. They embraced a radical idea of establishing a government that entrusted the power of the nation not in a monarchy, but in its citizens. That great leap sparked questions that continue to impact Americans: who has the right to vote, what are the freedoms and responsibilities of citizens, and whose voices will be heard?

Voices and Votes: Democracy in America is a springboard for discussions about those very questions and how they are reflected in local stories. Our democracy demands action, reaction, vision, and revision. From revolution and suffrage, to civil rights and casting ballots, everyone in every community is part of this ever-evolving story – the story of democracy in America.

Voices and Votes is based on a major exhibition currently on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History called American Democracy: A Great Leap of FaithVoices and Votes has many dynamic features including historical and contemporary photos; educational and archival video; interactive games; historical objects like campaign souvenirs, voter memorabilia, and protest material; and more!

Thank You to Our Statewide Sponsors

See this Smithsonian Exhibition at...

Iredell County Public Library (Statesville)

April 17, 2024 – May 28, 2024

Southwest Brunswick Branch Library (Carolina Shores)

June 2, 2024 – July 13, 2024

Cumberland County Public Library (Fayetteville)

July 18, 2024 – Sept 2, 2024

Alamance Community College (Graham)

Sep 6, 2024 – Oct 17, 2024

Appalachian State University (Boone)

Oct 22, 2024 – Dec 2, 2024

Henderson County Public Library (Hendersonville)

Dec 7, 2024 – Jan 25, 2025

*dates are subject to change

Past Exhibitions

Exhibition tours are part of the Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program. It is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Services (SITES) and state humanities councils nationwide, including North Carolina Humanities, that brings exhibitions and programs to small-town communities and residents of rural America. Support for MoMS has been provided by the United States Congress. 

Selected host sites receive and host exhibitions from North Carolina Humanities for approximately six weeks, rent-free. They may also receive up to $5,000 in grant funding to support the design and implementation of public programs, events, companion exhibits, and resources that enhance themes of each unique exhibition.

Static Map for Smithsonian Program (White)

Photo of white barn on a field with hay bails surrounding it with the sun in the distance Crossroads: Change in Rural America offered communities a chance to look at their own paths to highlight the changes that affected their fortunes over the past century. The exhibition explored how rural America embraces the notion that their citizens and their cultural uniqueness are important assets. All Americans benefit from rural America’s successes, and we can learn great things from listening to those stories.

The tour was supported in part by the National Humanities Center, the NC Rural Center, North Carolina Sea Grant, and NC Water Resources Research Institute.

The exhibition was on view at: 

  • Iredell Museums (Statesville)
  • Joyner Library at East Carolina University (Greenville)
  • Granville County Historical Society and Museum (Oxford)
  • Museum of the Albemarle (Elizabeth City)
  • Mountain Heritage Center at Western Carolina University (Cullowhee)
  • Onslow County Museum (Richlands)

Flock of white pelicansWater/Ways explored the relationships between people and water – environmentally, culturally, and historically. It examined water as an essential natural resource that allows us to travel, determines where we live, controls what we eat and drink, and inspires culture.

Looking to learn more about Water/WaysDownload and print the official North Carolina Water/Ways Coloring Guidebook! 

The tour was supported in part by the National Humanities Center, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina Sea Grant, NC Water Resources Research Institute, and Our State Magazine. 

The exhibition was on view at:

  • Macon County Public Library (Franklin)
  • Wake Forest Historical Museum (Wake Forest)
  • NC Estuarium (Washington)
  • Wrightsville Beach Museum (Wrightsville Beach)
  • Alamance Community College (Graham)
  • Yancey County Public Library (Burnsville)

Two woman delivering iceThe Way We Worked showcased American workers performing a diverse array of jobs that power our society and contribute to our shared culture. It traced the many changes that have affected the workforce and work environments over the past 150 years, including the growth of manufacturing and increasing use of technology. The tour was supported in part by the Porter Durham Family. 

The exhibition was on view at: 

  • Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society (Mt. Pleasant)
  • Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (Blowing Rock)
  • Cowan Museum of History & Science (Kenansville)
  • Cumberland County Public Library (Fayetteville)
  • Historical Association of Catawba County (Newton)
  • Mountain Heritage Center (Cullowhee)

Football players getting ready to start a playHometown Teams: How Sports Shape America explored 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 exhibition was on view at: 

  • Mount Airy Museum of Regional History (Mount Airy)
  • Wake Forest Historical Museum (Wake Forest)
  • Waterworks Visual Arts Center (Salisbury)
  • Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center (Harkers Island)
  • Transylvania County Library (Brevard)
  • Iredell County Public Library (Statesville)

Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer Journey Stories examined the tales of how we and our ancestors came to America. From Native Americans to new American citizens, regardless of our ethnic or racial background, everyone has a story to tell. 

The exhibition was on view at: 

  • Pender County Public Libraries (Burgaw)
  • The Museum and Archives of Rockingham County (Wentworth)
  • Mountain Heritage Center (Cullowhee)
  • North Carolina Museum of the Coastal Plain (Wilson)
  • North Carolina Transportation Museum (Spencer)
  • Robeson County History Museum (Lumberton)

Gottlieb, William P. -- 1917- (photographer)New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music took rural communities in North Carolina on a journey through the development of Americans’ creative expression through music. The story was full of surprises about familiar songs, histories of instruments, the roles of religion and technology, and the continuity of musical roots from “Yankee Doodle Dandy” to the latest pop hit.

The exhibition was on view at: 

  • Mount Airy Museum of Regional History (Mount Airy)
  • Warren County Memorial Library (Warrenton)
  • Museum of the Albemarle (Elizabeth City)
  • Arts Council of Wayne County (Goldsboro)
  • Rural Heritage Museum (Mars Hill)
  • Don Gibson Theatre (Shelby)