Press Release


"New Harmonies" returns to a town near you in 2010-2011.

CHICAGO – The Illinois Humanities Council, in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, is pleased to announce the six host communities for "New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music," a portable six kiosk display designed especially for small museums and historical societies returning to Illinois by popular demand in 2010. "New Harmonies" will have engagements at the Chillicothe Public Library (Chillicothe), the White County Historical Society (Carmi), the Lena Area Historical Museum (Lena), the Western Illinois Museum (Macomb), the Vermilion County Museum (Danville), and the Centralia Cultural Society (Centralia) from April 2010 to January 2011.

"New Harmonies" is a cultural history of America’s musical landscape. It’s the story of a diverse assortment of people interacting with a New World, a world where cultures and customs met, mixed, and mingled and created new sounds. The distinct cultural identities of all of these peoples are carried in song-both sacred and secular-and the music that emerges is known by names like blues, country, western, folk, jazz, and gospel. This exhibition tracks the unique history of many peoples reshaping each other into one incredibly diverse and complex people-Americans. As a unique traveling, multimedia exhibition, it is full of surprises about familiar songs, histories of instruments, the roles of religion and technology in shaping new sounds, and the continuity of musical roots from the colonial period to modern day rock and hip-hop.                    

"New Harmonies" 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. In addition to the resources provided by MoMS, each host community adds elements to their installation of the exhibit and produces a series of local programs related to the exhibition’s themes.

For more information about the MOMs program, contact Ryan Lewis at 312.422.5585 x231 or via email at Information about the program can also be found at or

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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