Press Release


Exhibition on cultural history of fences and land use opens February 10.

CHICAGO—Through a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C, the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) will bring “Between Fences,” a portable five-kiosk exhibition designed especially for small museums and historical societies, to Bushnell, Illinois. The Bushnell Historical Society will open the exhibition on Friday, February 10 at the Bushnell Recreation and Cultural Center (300 Miller Street.), and it will remain on display until March 24.

At the opening on February 10 at 7 P.M., Debra A. Reid, Professor, Eastern Illinois University will give the opening lecture entitled “To Embrace or Breach: Fence Meanings and Metaphors.” This presentation will explore fences as material evidence of our past and as symbols of our hopes and fears. Admission is free.

The Bushnell Historical Society will host a series of events in conjunction with the exhibition’s stay. Upcoming events include “Old Time At the Movies” where “Roll on the Texas Moon” (February 18, 1:00 P.M.) and “Springtime in the Rockies” (February 25 at 1:00 P.M.) will be shown with post-screening moderated discussions about the land issue problems, male/female stereotypes, and violent/nonviolent issue resolution. The 10¢ admission fee includes a popcorn and soda. On March 11 at 1:00 P.M., Tom Wilson, an authority on west central Illinois railroad history and a former city official of Galesburg, will present a lecture on the metaphorical fence created by the CB&Q railroad as it travels through Bushnell and other communities along the line. A discussion will follow on the “other side of the tracks” — the social and economic division that often occurred as communities matured from the mid-1850s. Admission is free. All events will take place in the Bushnell Recreation and Cultural Center (300 Miller Street). For further details contact Peggy Hood at 309.772.2577 or

“Between Fences” is a cultural history of fences and land use. By focusing on this dominant but often overlooked feature of the American landscape, this exhibition examines how neighbors and nations divide, protect, and define themselves through the boundaries they build. Through photographs and artifacts, “Between Fences” evokes the multiple meanings of these everyday icons, allowing audiences to investigate early settlement patterns, town architecture, transportation systems, contemporary and historical immigration, and civility among neighbors.

“Between Fences” is part of the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street (MOMs) program, a partnership between the Smithsonian and State Humanities Councils. MOMs serves the needs of small-to-medium-sized communities by bringing Smithsonian-quality exhibitions to local museums, historical societies, libraries, and community centers that traditionally have limited access to traveling exhibitions due to space and cost limitations.

Bushnell is the fourth stop on a six-town tour for “Between Fences;” the exhibition will continue the tour through Mt. Vernon and Mahomet in 2006.

For more information about “Between Fences” please call (312) 422-5580 or visit

The Illinois Humanities Council is an educational organization dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. Through its programs and grants, the IHC promotes greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. Organized as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1973, the IHC is now a private nonprofit (501 [c] 3) organization that is funded by contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations; by the Illinois General Assembly; and by the NEH.


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