This article originally appeared in the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Corridor Blog .
One coordinating entity, one statewide humanities council, and fourteen local organizations came together to bring a Smithsonian exhibition, four local exhibits, and nineteen humanities programs to the most economically disadvantaged county within the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor.
In April and May 2012 the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor coordinated a countywide program in LaSalle County, our most rural county, centered around The Way We Worked a Smithsonian Museum on Mainstreet exhibition. The Canal Corridor Association, the local coordinating entity for the IMCNHC, in partnership with the Illinois Humanities Council hosted the exhibition and collaborated with 14 diverse local and nonprofit organizations throughout LaSalle County. Partnership organizations included: museums, libraries, historical societies, historic homes, and labor unions. This project enabled us to forge new partnerships with the labor unions.
Four local exhibits were developed in conjunction with the Smithsonian exhibition, which explored various aspects of work in LaSalle County. During the exhibition the Canal Corridor Association coordinated nineteen programs with eight organizations at twelve locations throughout the county including: panel discussions, dinner lectures, historical presentations and musical concerts. The exhibition, associated exhibits and programming had an attendance of 6,396 people.
Above article submitted to the National Heritage Area newsletter August 2012.