A Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition highlighting the changing landscape of rural America is coming to Alamosa and the San Luis Valley Museum. 

The exhibit “Crossroads: Change in Rural America,” takes a broad look at the characteristics of rural America, according to Colorado Humanities. The exhibit dates for the SLV Museum are Oct. 16 through Nov. 25.

“It explores how an attraction to and interaction with the land formed the basis of rural America, and how rural communities and small towns evolve. It also highlights how change has transformed rural America and how rural Americans are evolving for the future,” according to Betsy Lopez of Colorado Humanities.

Before the Smithsonian exhibit opens in mid-October, the San Luis Valley Museum will host three community discussions on consecutive Fridays to delve further into the topic of rural America and how it’s changed through the generations. 

The first of the community sessions will be Friday, Sept. 22, when the movie Five States of Colorado is screened, followed by a community conversation. Here is the full schedule of events leading up to the “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” exhibit:

Sept. 22 at 6 p.m.

The Five States of Colorado Movie Screening and Conversation.

Sept. 29 at 6 p.m.

Glenn Miller Orchestra Movie Screening and Conversation.

Oct. 6 at 6 p.m.

Live Music “SLV Community Band” and Conversation.

Oct. 16

“Crossroads: Change in Rural America” opens at San Luis Valley Museum

Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.

Grand Opening with Keynote Speaker Dr. Ed Crowther, emeritus professor of history at Adams State University.

Nov. 3 at 7 p.m.

Guest speaker: Fort Garland Museum Director Eric Carpio.

Nov. 17 at 7 p.m.

Closing Ceremony Guest speaker: Author Pete Anderson.

“‘Crossroads’ allows us to reflect on Alamosa’s history, present and future and we are excited to explore what the future may hold for our community,” said Jeff Myers, San Luis Valley Museum director. “We want to convene conversations about what makes our community unique and have developed a local exhibit, public programs and facilitated conversations to complement the Smithsonian exhibition.” 

“Crossroads: Change in Rural America” is a touring exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) series. “It also highlights how change has transformed rural America and by adding in local experiences, how rural Coloradans are evolving for the future,” said Betsy Lopez of Colorado Humanities.

“Crossroads” is part of MoMs, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and

local host institutions, said Lopez.

About “Crossroads: Change in Rural America”

“Crossroads” explores how rural American communities changed in the 20th century. Currently, most of the United States landscape remains rural, with only 3.5 percent of the landmass considered urban. Since 1900, the percentage of Americans living in rural areas dropped from 60 percent to 17 percent. The exhibition looks at that remarkable societal change and how rural Americans responded.

Americans have relied on rural crossroads for generations. These places where people gather to exchange goods, services and culture and to engage in political and community discussions are an important part of our cultural fabric. 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.

Support for MoMS has been provided by the U.S. Congress, Colorado Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.