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Exhibition 'Changing America' to Appear at 50 Museums, Libraries

Fifty libraries, museums and other public sites across the United States will host a traveling exhibition, Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963, to explore the story of liberty and the American experience, the American Library Association (A.L.A. ) announced on Tuesday, February 18, 2014. The exhibition is the result of a collaboration between the ALA Public Programs Office, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (N.M.A.A.H.C.) and the National Museum of American History (N.M.A.H.) and made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (N.E.H.).

The ALA states that Changing America will help public audiences understand and discuss the relationship between two great peoples’ movements that resulted in President Abraham Lincoln issuing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and the March on Washington in 1963.

One hundred years separate the Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington, yet these two events are profoundly linked. Both events were the results of people demanding justice. Both grew out of decades of bold actions, resistance, organization, and vision. In both Americans can take inspiration from those who marched toward freedom.

Each of the selected sites will host the exhibition for a six-week-long period between February of 2014 and December of 2017, and each will receive a grant of $1,700 from the ALA, with funding provided by the NEH, for expenses related to public programs.

Participating sites will be required to present an opening event, and at least two public humanities programs for adult audiences, presented by qualified humanities scholars and related to exhibition themes. Public programming will encourage scholar-led reflection upon and discussion about the major issues surrounding the Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington, and acquaint new audiences with the history of these two critical events in American history. All showings of the exhibition will be free and open to the public.

Changing America is touring as part of an NEH initiative, Created Equal, that brings four films on America’s Civil Rights movement to communities across the U.S. to promote public conversations. The ALA states, "The ALA Public Programs Office promotes cultural and community programming as an essential part of library service in all types and sizes of libraries."

Successful library programming initiatives have included “Let’s Talk About It” reading and discussion series, traveling exhibitions, film discussion programs, the Great Stories CLUB, LIVE@ your library and more. Recently, the ALA Public Programs Office developed, an online resource center bringing librarians timely and valuable information to support them in the creation of high-quality cultural programs for their communities...

A 2003 federal law established the NMAAHC as a Smithsonian museum. It is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African-American life, art, history and culture.

It is now under construction on Washington’s National Mall, on a five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument. The NMAAHC is scheduled to open in the winter of 2015.

The NMAH collects, preserves and displays American heritage through exhibitions and public programs about social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. Documenting the American experience from colonial times to the present, the museum looks at growth and change in the United States.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the NEH supports learning in history, literature, philosophy and other humanities. According to the NEH, its "grants enrich classroom learning, create and preserve knowledge and bring ideas to life through public television, radio, new technologies, exhibitions and programs in libraries, museums and other community places."

The exhibition will be on display at the Marengo County History and Archive Museum, Demopolis, AL; Arkansas State University, State University, AZ; the Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA; the Riverside African American Historical Society, Riverside, CA; History Colorado, Pueblo, CO; the Avon Free Public Library, Avon, CT; the Dover Public Library, Dover, DE; the African American Research Library and Cultural Center, Fort Lauderdale, FL; the Florida Historic Capitol Museum, Tallahassee, FL; the University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL; the Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville, GA; the DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA; the African American Museum of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, IA; the Coeur d'Alene Public Library, Coeur d'Alene, ID; the DuPage County Historical Museum, Wheaton, IL; the Peoria Public Library, Peoria, IL; the Moline Public Library, Moline, IL; the Franklin College, Franklin, IN; the Independence Public Library, Independence, KS; the West Baton Rouge Museum, Port Allen, LA; Nicholls State University, Thibodaux, LA; Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA; Harford Community College, Bel Air, MD; Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, Detroit, MI; Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, MN; the Springfield-Greene County Library District, Springfield, MO; University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, Hattiesburg, MS; Cape Fear Museum, Wilmington, NC; Richmond-Miles Museum, Yanceyville, NC; the State Historical Society of North Dakota, Bismarck, ND; the Pease Public Library, Plymouth, NH; the Keene Public Library, Keene, NH; Hudson County Community College, Jersey City, NJ; the Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn, NY; the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum, Peterboro, NY; the Poughkeepsie Public Library District, Poughkeepsie, NY; Hudson Valley Community College, Troy, NY; Louisville Public Library, Louisville, OH; Miami University, Middletown, OH; Linfield College, McMinnville, OR; Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, Providence, RI; Nancy Carson Library, North Augusta, SC; Promise Land Community Club, Charlotte, TN; University of Memphis, Memphis, TN; Tarrant County College District, Fort Worth, TX; West Texas A&M University, Canyon, TX; Waynesboro Public Library, Waynesboro, VA; Whitworth University, Spokane, WA; The Civil War Museum, Kenosha, WI; and the Racine Public Library, Racine, WI.

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