Press Release


Exhibition to run from April 24 to June 7 Special keynote address by Dr. Nora Small May 1

CHICAGO -The Illinois Humanities Council announces the opening of "Between Fences," a traveling exhibition of the world-renowned Smithsonian Institution, at the Illinois Amish Interpretive Center (111 S. Locust St., Arcola). The exhibition will run from April 24, 2009 through June 7, 2009.  Visitors will be able to experience "Between Fences" during the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The grand opening festivities will begin on Friday, April 24th at 4:30 p.m., and will include the Arcola Fencewalk at 5:30 p.m. and a free barbeque at the City Park at 6:30 p.m. The following week, Dr. Nora Pat Small will deliver a keynote address on Friday, May 1st at 6:30 p.m. Small is a Professor of History at Eastern Illinois University and one of the state scholars for "Between Fences." Dr. Small will discuss Illinois’ fencing history and land use policy, paying particular attention to Arcola and the surrounding region. For more information about the opening and other special events during this exhibit, please contact the Illinois Amish Interpretive Center at 1.888.45.AMISH.


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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