Blog Article

A Smithsonian Exhibition is Traveling to a Main Street Near You

Spark! Places of Innovation, the latest installment in the Museum on Main Street program from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, will be touring seven communities in Illinois from June 17, 2023, through March 30, 2024.

Since 1994, the Museum on Main Street program has brought world-class, multimedia Smithsonian exhibitions to small towns and rural communities nationwide. Spark! Places of Innovation will tour Equality, Hillsboro, Chatsworth, Rushville, Durand, Havana, and Marshall, Illinois.

Spark! highlights innovation in rural America from the perspectives of people who have lived it. The communities featured in Spark! – including seven small towns in Illinois, five of which will host a stop on the tour – have enhanced their vitality through innovations in fields such as technology, agriculture, economic development, education, and the arts.

Each community will produce public events around the exhibition that connect the story of Spark! to their local history and culture. At the exhibition’s first stop in Equality, Illinois, Mark and Nadine York of the Gallatin County Tourism Committee have brought together archeologists, educators, and historians to illuminate the legend and lore surrounding salt production, the history of the Gallatin Salines, the Native groups who used the Salines for centuries, and the industry’s connection to the region’s history of slavery.

“We’re excited to amplify the work of our partners, and we’re eager to see how they bring this exhibition to life through their own communities’ stories of innovation,” said Illinois Humanities Executive Director Gabrielle Lyon.

Come out and explore the diversity, ingenuity, and tenacity of rural Americans in Spark! Places of Innovation.

Tour Schedule:

  • June 17-July 22, 2023: Gallatin County Tourism Committee, Equality
  • July 29-September 2, 2023: Imagine Hillsboro, Hillsboro
  • September 9-October 14, 2023: Community Connection of Central Illinois, Chatsworth
  • October 21-November 25, 2023: The HUB Arts and Cultural Center, Rushville
  • December 2, 2023-January 6, 2024: Durand Charm, Durand
  • January 13-February 17, 2024: Havana Area Chamber of Commerce, Havana
  • February 24-March 30, 2024: Marshall Public Library, Marshall

Learn more about Spark! local programming and our Museum on Main Street program at

Featured Image: Big city chefs come to Fairbury, IL to learn farm techniques firsthand at Chef Camp. Photo courtesy Fairbury Improvement Group.