New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music is a fascinating, inspiring, and toe-tapping history of American music.
CHICAGO – Through a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Illinois Humanities Council brings “New Harmonies,” a traveling five-kiosk exhibit designed specifically for small museums and historical societies, to Illinois.
“New Harmonies” opens atthe Macon County Conservation District’s Rock Springs Nature Center, 3939 Nearing Lane in Decatur, on Saturday, May 5, 2007 and runs through June 16. The May 5 grand opening will begin at 1:30 p.m. with an outdoor concert of Illinois roots music featuring acclaimed folk musician and songwriter Chris Vallillo.
“New Harmonies” is a cultural history of America’s musical landscape. From prairie land to river ways, from immigrant sounds to labor hymns, and from European folk traditions to African American blues and gospel, Illinois has been, and continues to be, the people’s musical highway. As a unique traveling exhibition, “New Harmonies” 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 country, rock, folk, bluegrass, and blues.
“New Harmonies” is part of the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program. MoMS serves small-to medium-sized communities with populations of less than 25,000 by bringing Smithsonian-quality exhibitions to local museums, historical societies, libraries, and community centers that traditionally have limited access to traveling exhibitions due to space and cost limitations. Each exhibition consists of five free-standing structures that contain interactive components and artifacts. In addition to the resources provided by MoMS, each host community will add local elements to their installation of the exhibit and produce a series of programs related to the exhibitions’ themes. For more information about the MoMS program, contact Ryan Lewis at 312.422.5585 ext 231 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about the program may also be obtained by visiting prairie.org/MoMS or MuseumonMainStreet.org.
The Illinois Humanities Council is an educational organization dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. Through its programs and grants, the IHC promotes greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. Organized as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1973, the IHC is now a private nonprofit (501 [c] 3) organization that is funded by contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations; by the Illinois General Assembly; and by the NEH.
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