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Smithsonian exhibition ‘Voices and Votes’ at Prescott Public Library June 20 to July 25

In 1963, Matt Heron moved to Jackson, Mississippi, with his family to join the Civil Rights Movement. He organized The Southern Documentary Project — a team of eight photographers recording the rapid social change taking place in the South. Above is Heron's 1965 photo capturing the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Matt Heron via Smithsonian “Voices and Votes” exhibit)

In 1963, Matt Heron moved to Jackson, Mississippi, with his family to join the Civil Rights Movement. He organized The Southern Documentary Project — a team of eight photographers recording the rapid social change taking place in the South. Above is Heron's 1965 photo capturing the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Matt Heron via Smithsonian “Voices and Votes” exhibit)

A Smithsonian exhibition that focuses on America’s experiment of government “of, by, and for the people” is coming to the Prescott Public Library this summer.

A news release from the City of Prescott reports that the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street is presenting its “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America,” and bringing it to Prescott in cooperation with Arizona Humanities Council.

“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,’” states the news release.

Opening at Prescott Public Library on June 20, “Voices and Votes” will be on view through July 25.

To provide for social distancing, the library is limiting the number of people who can to visit the exhibit at any given time, and will also be cleaning high-touch areas throughout the day.

Registration to view the exhibit is now open and one-hour exhibition viewing reservations can be made 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,” states the news release.

The exhibition will tour five communities in Arizona from June 20, 2020 through February 28, 2021.

WHAT IS VOICES AND VOTES?

“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.

The exhibition 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,” the news release adds.

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.

The exhibition also 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.

LOCAL VOICES AND VOTES

A companion exhibit that features local "voices and votes" is open to the public on the second floor of the library anytime the library is open.

In the local exhibit, thanks to the collaboration of the Sharlot Hall Museum and community partners, visitors will encounter photographs and artifacts from Prescott’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.

ADDITIONAL ZOOM EVENTS

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

• “Fixing the U.S. Constitution: What Needs Changing, How and Why” (at http://prescottlibrary.evanced.info/signup/EventDetails?EventId=43939&backTo=Calendar&startDate=2020/06/01), 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 (at http://prescottlibrary.evanced.info/signup/EventDetails?EventId=43940&backTo=Calendar&startDate=2020/07/01).

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 exhibition is 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. More information about “Voices” and other Museum on Main Street exhibitions is available by visiting: www.museumonmainstreet.org.

Support for MoMS has 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. It 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.

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

— Cindy Barks, The Daily Courier

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