Press Release


Apply to the IHC to Bring "Journey Stories" Exhibition
to Your Illinois Community in 2009-2010

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 " Journey Stories."

"Journey Stories" tells how we and our ancestors came to America. From Native Americans to new American citizens and regardless of our ethnic or racial background, everyone has a story to tell. Our history is filled with stories of people leaving behind everything – families and possessions – to reach a new life in another state, across the continent, or even across an ocean. Many chose to move, searching for something better in a new land. Others had no choice, like enslaved Africans captured and relocated to a strange land and bravely asserting their own cultures, or like Native Americans already here, who were often violently removed by newcomers.

The exhibition is comprised of six freestanding structures containing interactive components and artifacts mounted in cases, requiring 800 square ft. of display space with eight-foot ceilings, plus additional space for a local exhibit. Sites should also have access to standard electrical outlets.

The exhibition will tour six Illinois communities from May 2009 to March 2010. Sites will be chosen based on geographic location, strength of proposed ideas for auxiliary programming, and physical display space. Applications are due by May 1, 2008. Selections will be announced by the beginning of June 2008.

To request an application, call Ryan Lewis at 312.422.5585 ext. 231 or visit

"Journey Stories" 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 conclusion
  • Pay and arrange for shipping

The Illinois Humanities Council is a nonprofit educational organization [501 (c) 3] dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. Organized in 1973 as the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.

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