Press Release


“New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music” is a fascinating, inspiring, and toe-tapping history of American music.

CHICAGO – Through a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Illinois Humanities Council is bringing “New Harmonies,” a portable five-kiosk display designed especially for small museums and historical societies, to Illinois. “New Harmonies” will open attheGalena-Jo Daviess County Historical Society and Museum in Galena on Sunday, March 18, 2007 and run through April 28, 2007 at this site.

The grand opening on Sunday, March 18 will begin at 11:30 a.m. with a brunch ($20/person) at Galena’s historic DeSoto House Hotel (230 S. Main Street, Galena, IL), followed by a musical presentation (Free and Open to the Public)featuring Clark Halker and Chris Vallillo with special guest Jim Post. At 1:30 p.m. there will be a procession from DeSoto House Hotel to the Galena History Museum (211 S. Bench Street, Galena, IL) for the 2:00 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony for the exhibition with state/local officials and the Galena Area Chamber of Commerce. From 2:30 – 4:30 p.m., visitors can enjoy the exhibition downstairs and musicians throughout the museum.

New Harmonies” is a cultural history of America’s musical landscape. The exhibition is the story of a diverse assortment of people interacting with a New World, a world where cultures and customs met, mixed, and mingled and created new sounds. The distinct cultural identities of all of these peoples are carried in song — both sacred and secular — and the music that emerges is known by names like blues, country, western, folk, jazz, and gospel. This exhibition tracks the unique history of many peoples reshaping each other into one incredibly diverse and complex people — Americans. It also promises a fascinating, inspiring, and toe-tapping listen to the American story of cultural exchange with its multi-media components. As a unique traveling exhibition, it is full of surprises about familiar songs, histories of instruments, the roles of religion and technology in shaping new sounds, and the continuity of musical roots from the colonial period to modern day punk and hip-hop.

New Harmonies” is part of the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program. MoMS serves small-to medium-sized communities with populations of less than 25,000 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. Each exhibition consists of five free-standing structures that contain interactive components and artifacts. In addition to the resources provided by MoMS, each host community will add elements to their installation of the exhibit and produce a series of local programs related to the exhibitions’ themes.

For more information about the MoMS program, contact Ryan Lewis at 312.422.5585 ext 231 or via email. Information about the program may also be obtained by visiting or

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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