REED CITY — With the Smithsonian Crossroads exhibit now open to the public, those looking to learn more about small-town America can head over to the Reed City Depot.
In collaboration with the Reed City Area District Library, opening weekend kicked off Saturday, Feb. 1 with a ribbon-cutting at 11 a.m. and musical entertainment from the Sweet Adelines at the Depot on North Chestnut Street in Reed City.
Funded by the Michigan Humanities Council, the exhibit will stop at six different sites for a period of six weeks at each location from September 2019 to June 2020.
This entire process started back in 2018 when library director Tom Burnosky applied for the exhibit.
When applying to be a stop on the exhibit’s tour back in October, Burnosky said he felt it went perfectly with the library’s mission.
“Our mission is to provide ways for the community to connect and learn,‘ he said. “It just seemed right in our ballpark.‘
Crossroads will serve as a conversation about rural America’s past, present and future, according to a Michigan Humanities Council press release.
“We are a historical community,‘ said Burnosky. “It only seems fitting that we be one of the hosts for the exhibit.‘
Walking through for the first time, guests found colorful displays covered with pictures and cases filled with memorabilia of rural America’s past, present and future highlighting the attractions of country life, preserving tradition and the importance of main streets.
“It’s a great exhibit to highlight the importance of small towns and the changes they have gone through,‘ Reed City Area District Library Board President Lindsey Eccles-Burchett said. “I think it also shows that even with things changing, small towns are here to stay.‘
The displays are coupled with interactive features like touchscreen monitors, video, flipbooks and even a mailbox for visitors to ask questions on provided postcards.
“I find it to be a very interesting exhibit,‘ Director of the Mid-Michigan Library League Sheryl Mase said. “Not originally from a small town myself, I find this to be a really nice way to see just how these kinds of places have evolved over time.‘
Though a great opportunity for the library, Mase said it is an even better opportunity for the community.
“It is a great opportunity for the community to draw people in from all over and collaborate in putting something like this on,‘ Mase said. “It highlights the library but it also shows the sense of community that is behind it.‘
Anyone who is still interested in seeing the exhibit can stop by the Reed City Depot on Chestnut Street from noon to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The exhibit will continue to run until March 13.