AUSTIN, Texas —
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) is pleased to announce the seven communities selected to host a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit as part of the inaugural Museum on Main Street initiative in Texas.
Created in 1994, the Museum on Main Street program seeks to create opportunities for underserved rural communities across the country to reflect on their history, culture, and people and to showcase their cultural-heritage assets to regional, statewide, and national audiences. As the new state coordinator of the program in Texas, the THC’s Heritage Tourism Program will work closely with these communities as they embark on nearly two years of training and preparation to host the world’s largest museum complex in their small towns and welcome several thousand new visitors.
Though Texas was initially proposed to have only six host communities, the Smithsonian offered an additional stop on the tour due to the sheer size of the state and the high caliber of applications received. The THC and its Heritage Tourism Program look forward to working with these host communities and their respective nominating organizations and Texas Heritage Trail Regions:
- Bandera (Bandera County Historical Commission, Bandera Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Frontier Times Museum) in the Texas Hill Country Trail Region
- Brenham (Visit Brenham and Washington County) in the Texas Independence Trail Region
- Buffalo Gap (Buffalo Gap Chamber of Commerce) in the Texas Forts Trail Region
- Clifton (Bosque Museum) in the Texas Brazos and Lakes Trail Regions
- Rockport (Rockport Cultural Arts District) in the Texas Tropical Trail Region
- San Augustine (Main Street Program) in the Texas Forest Trail Region
- San Elizario (El Paso County Economic Development and San Elizario Genealogy and Historical Society) in the Texas Mountain Trail Region
These communities will host the traveling exhibit "Crossroads: Change in Rural America" for six weeks each in 2024–25. The exhibit examines the impacts of the population shift from rural to urban areas in the U.S. during the last century, as well as the importance of preserving small towns for their unique culture, history, and economic revitalization opportunities.
During the months leading up to the exhibit, host communities will receive training and consultation from THC staff to prepare the local heritage tourism landscape for the arrival of the exhibit. Communities from the surrounding region are encouraged to participate in the training as well, making the program a true regional heritage tourism initiative.
Dates and locations for the “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” exhibition tour will be announced soon.