Press Release


Apply to the IHC to Bring “Between Fences” Exhibition to Your Illinois Community in 2008-09

CHICAGO –The Illinois Humanities Council invites smaller museums, libraries, and historical societies in towns of fewer than 30,000 residents to apply to host a Smithsonian traveling exhibition called “Between Fences.” The Smithsonian developed this portable 5-kiosk display especially for rural audiences and small museums with limited access to traveling exhibitions due to space and cost limitations.

Between Fences” is a cultural history of fences and land use. The exhibition will surprise and delight audiences by evoking the multiple meanings of an everyday icon — the fence. The exhibition will provide institutions, teachers, and local audiences with the opportunity to investigate early settlement patterns, town architecture, transportation systems, contemporary and historical immigration, and civility among neighbors.

The exhibition will tour six Illinois communities in 2008-09. Sites will be chosen based on geographic location, physical display space, and strength of proposals for auxiliary programs and ideas for institutional growth and development. Applications are due by August 15, 2007. Selections will be announced in the first week of September. To request an application, call Ryan Lewis at 312.422.5585 ext. 231, visit, or download it.

Between Fences” is part of the Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program, a partnership between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and state humanities councils nationwide. MoMS serves small-to medium-sized communities by bringing Smithsonian-quality exhibitions to local museums, historical societies, libraries, and community centers around the country.

The IHC will provide the following for each host community:

  • Rental of the Smithsonian exhibition for a six-week period
  • An exhibition support manual covering installation, object collection and conservation, public relations, and evaluation
  • Exhibition brochures and posters for distribution
  • Assistance in program planning and ready-made promotional materials such as Public Service Announcements (PSAs)
  • Travel expenses for a project director to attend the orientation, program planning, and installation workshops
  • $2,000 in grant funds in support of humanities programming, such as oral histories, guest lecturers, film series, artifact collections, workshops, reading discussion programs, dramatizations, etc.
  • Access to humanities scholars who will assist organizations with program planning and present an opening night lecture
  • A committee of museum professionals who will provide technical assistance in all aspects of the exhibition

In return, host communities will be asked to:

  • Identify a staff member or volunteer who will serve as project director for its duration and attend the orientation, program planning, and installation workshops
  • Plan and implement public humanities programs during the exhibition
  • Track all staff and volunteer time, facilities, and other resources donated to the project and provide a report of this local cost share at the project’s conclusionPay and arrange for shipping

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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