‘Democracy in America’ exhibit coming to Somerset, Wilmore, other towns


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)  The Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street, in cooperation with Kentucky Humanities, will bring Voices and Votes: Democracy in America, an exhibit that examines the nearly 250-year-old American experiment of a government “of, by, and for the people,” and how each generation since continues to question how to form “a more perfect union,” to Kentucky communities in 2021.

Kentucky Humanities has selected six museums to host Voices and Votes as part of the Museum on Main Street program — a national/state/local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations.

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The Smithsonian exhibit will make stops in Murray, Louisville, Somerset, LaGrange, Madisonville, and Wilmore from March 27, 2021 through December 11, 2021. A tour schedule is below.

Voices and Votes explores the action, reaction, vision and revision that democracy demands as Americans continue to question how to shape the country.


From the revolution and suffrage, to civil rights and casting ballots, everyone in every community is part of this ever-evolving story—the story of democracy in America. Exhibition sections explore the origins of American democracy, the struggles to obtain and keep the vote, the machinery of democracy, the right to petition and protest beyond the ballot and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.

Voices and Votes features historical and contemporary photos; educational and archival video; engaging multimedia interactives with short games; and historical objects like campaign souvenirs, voter memorabilia, and protest material.

“This is the perfect time to bring the Voices and Votes exhibit to Kentucky,” said Bill Goodman, Executive Director of Kentucky Humanities. “Democracy and government has become a part of our everyday discussions and dominates the news. We want to use this exhibit to bring communities together to examine what it means to be an active participant in the governance of their community, their state, and their nation.”

Designed for small-town museums, libraries and cultural organizations, Voices and Votes will serve as a community meeting place for conversations about democracy, the freedoms and responsibilities of citizens, participation in government, and more.

With the support and guidance of Kentucky Humanities, each town will develop complementary exhibits, host public programs and facilitate educational initiatives to raise people’s understanding about their own history, the joys and challenges of living rural, how change has impacted their community, and prompt discussion of goals for the future.

Voices and Votes is based on an exhibition currently on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History called American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith.

The exhibition is part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. To learn more about Voices and Votes and other Museum on Main Street exhibitions, visit www.museumonmainstreet.org.

DATE                          HOST/SITE

03/27/21 – 05/01/21    Wrather West Kentucky Museum at Murray State University



05/08/21 – 06/12/21    Portland Museum

                                      Louisville, KY

06/19/21 – 07/24/21    The Center for Rural Development

                                      Somerset, KY


07/31/21 – 09/11/21    The Oldham County History Center

                                      LaGrange, KY

09/18/21 – 10/23/21    Glema Mahr Center for the Arts at Madisonville Community College

                                      Madisonville, KY


10/30/21 – 12/11/21    Wilmore Community Development Board

                                      Wilmore, KY