Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Examining Democracy in America Coming to Prescott

The Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street, in cooperation with Arizona Humanities Council, presents “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America.” The exhibition examines the nearly 250-year-old American experiment of a government “of, by, and for the people,” and how each generation since continues to question how to form “a more perfect union.” Opening at Prescott Public Library on June 20, 2020, “Voices and Votes” will be on view through July 25, 2020.

To provide for social distancing, Prescott Public Library is limiting the number of individuals to visit the exhibit at any given time and cleaning high-touch areas throughout the day. Registration to view the exhibit is now open and one-hour exhibition viewing reservations can be made by at www.prescottlibrary.info/voicesvotes  or by calling the library at 928-777.1526.

Prescott Public Library and the surrounding community has been chosen by the Arizona Humanities Council to host “Voices and Votes” as part of the Museum on Main Street program—a national/state/local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations. The exhibition will tour five communities in Arizona from June 20, 2020 through February 28, 2021. “Voices and Votes” is based on an exhibition currently on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History called American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith.

“Voices and Votes” explores the action, reaction, vision, and revision that democracy demands as Americans continue to question how to shape the country. From the 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. Exhibition sections explore the origins of American democracy, the struggles to obtain and keep the vote, the machinery of democracy, the right to petition and protest beyond the ballot and the rights and responsibilities of citizens. “Voices and Votes” features historical and contemporary photos; educational and archival video; engaging multimedia interactives with short games; and historical objects like campaign souvenirs, voter memorabilia, and protest material.

“‘Voice and Votes’ allows us to reflect on Prescott’s history and explore what it means to be an active participant in the governance of not only the country but also this community,” said Martha Baden, Library Manager, Public Services. A companion exhibit that features local “voices and votes” is open to the public on the 2nd floor of the library anytime the library is open. In this exhibit, thanks to the collaboration of the Sharlot Hall Museum and community partners, visitors will encounter photographs and artifacts from our community’s history that help tell the story of what happens when individuals decide to make change. “We hope that this exhibit and the programs and book collection we will be offering concurrently will spark conversations and deepen awareness of individual participation in democracy,” said Baden.

Free events during the exhibition will be conducted via Zoom and include:

Fixing the U.S. Constitution: What Needs Changing, How and Why

Thursday, June 25, at 6 pm via Zoom

Speaker – Thomas J. Davis

Fierce Femininity: Arizona Women Who Stepped Up

Thursday, July 9 at 6 pm via Zoom

Speaker – Lisa Schnebly Heidinger

Library staff can offer training and assistance in the use of Zoom and there is a call-in option for Zoom that does not require a computer or mobile device.

The exhibitionis part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. To learn more about “Voices” and other Museum on Main Street exhibitions, visit museumonmainstreet.org.  Support for MoMShas been provided by the U.S. Congress.

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For exhibition description and tour schedules, visit sites.si.edu.

Additional funding for the exhibit is provided by the Friends of the Prescott Public Library.

Prescott Public Library brings you the discovery of ideas, the joy of reading and the power of information.  Check the library’s online events calendar at www.prescottlibrary.info, or call 928.777.1526 for more information.

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