WEIRTON — The Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center has been selected as one of the sites for a new Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition, sponsored by the West Virginia Humanities Council.

“Crossroads: Change in Rural America,” will be on tour from next August through June 2022, visiting seven communities in West Virginia.

In addition to the Weirton museum, sites selected for the exhibit are the Jack Caffrey Arts and Culture Center in Welch; the new Coal Heritage Discovery Center in Mount Hope; the Museum of American Glass in Weston; Arthurdale Heritage in Arthurdale; the Wetzel County Museum in New Martinsville; and Moorefield High School. Each location will host the display for five weeks, with the final schedule to be announced later this year.

“We had an incredible response from many institutions across the state,” said Kyle Warmack, program officer for the council. “Every application was so strong, it made our decisions very difficult, and if we could hold onto Crossroads longer and grant this opportunity to every organization that applied, there’s no question that we would.”

“Crossroads: Change in Rural America,” examines the present-day turning point at which many rural American towns find themselves. According to information from the humanities council, today the population of the nation’s rural areas is less than half of what it was in 1900, yet America’s small towns continue to creatively focus on new opportunities for growth and development. Many communities have found such growth through economic innovation, including investment in cultural and creative economies, officials said.

“We feel the sites selected represent the best possible geographic spread, giving every West Virginian a chance to experience a unique exhibit near their part of the state,” said Eric Waggoner, executive director of the council. “What’s more, every organization that applied has so much to say about change in their community. We’re very excited to help these host sites express these visions of their communities’ pasts, presents and futures.”

Core displays of the exhibit have been developed by the Smithsonian, but each host site contributes its own displays, programming and related events.

The tour is made possible through the Museum on Main Street program, an alliance of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the Federation of State Humanities Councils state humanities councils and cultural organizations.

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