In The News

Smithsonian comes to Pinckneyville

Article from The Southern online

PINCKNEYVILLE – More than a year-long effort to land a Smithsonian Institute exhibit here became a reality Wednesday as volunteers began installing "Between Fences," at the Perry County Fairground exhibition hall in Pinckneyville.

The Smithsonian exhibit, offered through its traveling exhibition series, tells the story of America’s settling by way of fence manufacturing and installation. Fences helped settle land claims, marked the country’s borders and were necessary to build communities and neighborhoods, according to Smithsonian promotional information.

"Fences is a really cool metaphor. The exhibit shows how fences bring people together and how they are pulled apart. It shows how communities deal with natural boundaries," said Ryan Lewis of the Illinois Humanities Council that is helping to sponsor the show.

Pinckneyville is one of six Illinois communities chosen for the exhibit from a pool of 18 entries from throughout the state that submitted applications about 15 months earlier. The exhibit’s first showing will be here for six weeks before it moves on to Byron, Clinton, Princeton, Arcola and Lockport.

Representatives from those other communities were present Wednesday as Robbie Davis, a project director for the Museum on Main Street cultural program of the Smithsonian Institute, led everyone through a step-by-step process in erecting the exhibit.

"I’m very impressed how logical it is to set up. This gives me hope on how to do it when I have to set it up in our town in six weeks," said Jessica McCanse of the Byron Museum of History about Davis’ step-by-step presentation.

The exhibit arrived in Pinckneyville this week in 15 crates and is being set up in five kiosks.

Davis marveled at the Perry County Fairground exhibition hall and the work of Tibretta Reiman, general manager of the Foundation for the Future of Pinckneyville to help land and eventually organize the exhibit.

With help from the Pinckneyville Chamber of Commerce, the exhibit will include local historical items such as how wire was manufactured in this region, the importance of the coal mining industry and a focus on the life and times of Virginia Marmaduke of Pinckneyville who went on to achieve fame and recognition as a Chicago journalist.

"They’ve got wonderful space. She (Reiman) is turning this into a multifunctional space," Davis said.

Workshops for volunteers to help with the exhibit as tour guides will be at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. today in the exhibition hall. For more information, contact Reiman at 571-1171 or e-mail her at: