Press Release


Popular favorite “Between Fences” coming soon to a town near you.

CHICAGO – Through a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) is bringingBetween Fences,” a portable 5-kiosk display designed especially for small museums, libraries, and historical societies, back to six Illinois for a second tour. The ever-popular exhibit will have engagements in the communities of Pinckneyville, Byron, Clinton, Princeton, Arcola, and Lockport from October 2008 through July 2009.

Between Fences” is a cultural history of fences and land use. By focusing on this dominant but often overlooked feature of the American landscape, “Between Fences” examines how neighbors and nations divide, protect, and define themselves through the boundaries they build. Through the photographs and artifacts included in the exhibition, “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 Illinois Humanities Council’s partnership with the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program. MoMS serves small-to medium-sized communities with populations of less than 30,000 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 freestanding 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. The IHC has contracted with Eastern Illinois University history professors, Dr. Debra A. Reid and Dr. Nora Pat Small, to assist the communities in developing their programs and exhibits.

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 the Council’s website at or the official Smithsonian MoMS site.

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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