Press Release


Smithsonian exhibition to run from October 16th through November 23rd

CHICAGO -The Illinois Humanities Council announces the opening of "Between Fences," a traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibition, at the Pinckneyville Fairgrounds, 501 Fairgrounds Road, in Pinckneyville.  The exhibition will run October 16th through November 23rd. Viewing hours are 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays, and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. Large groups wishing to visit the exhibition will be able to make special arrangements for a private tour. 

The grand opening will take place on Saturday, October 18th at 6:30 p.m. with a lecture by Dr. Debra A. Reid, state scholar and associate professor of history at Eastern Illinois University.  Dr. Reid will discuss Illinois’ fencing history, fence laws, and land use policy, paying particular attention to Pinckneyville and the surrounding region. 

Built of hedge, concrete, wood and metal, fences are central to the American landscape. We use them to enclose our houses and neighborhoods. They are decorative structures that are as much a part of the landscape as trees and flowers. Industry and agriculture without fences would be difficult to imagine. Private ownership of land would be an abstract concept. But fences are more than functional objects. They are powerful symbols. The way we define ourselves as individuals and as a nation becomes concrete in how we build fences.

Through an examination of boundaries, place, and space, "Between Fences" will explore how neighbors and nations divide, protect, offend, and defend through the boundaries they build. In addition to objects and images relating to the exhibition stories, fence materials will include tools, photographs, and publications including product literature, journals, postcards, and posters.

"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 museums, libraries, and historical societies in towns of fewer than 30,000 residents by bringing them Smithsonian-quality exhibitions.  For more information about MoMS, call Ryan Lewis at 312.422.5585 ext. 231 or visit

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 by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.

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