Smithsonian exhibit coming to Demopolis

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 22, 2005

DEMOPOLIS-The Demopolis University Center played host to some special guests Thursday morning that brought some exiting news to the River City. Demopolis has been chosen to host a traveling display in conjunction with the Alabama Humanities Foundation

The program is just one of many ways the AHF offers the people of Alabama opportunities to explore the humanities through public programs such as seminars, workshops, lectures, exhibitions, documentary videos, and films.

The AHF is also a vehicle for awarding grants to grassroots organizations in Alabama. They now also conduct their own programs benefiting teachers, schoolchildren, families, and the general public.

Cheryl Temple, one of the representatives who was in town Thursday, said the program is free to the public. She also said they have several other programs they are working on to help spread the more information and culture to Alabama.

“We provide public humanities programming free of charge to the general public of Alabama,” Temple said. “We have several ongoing programs. We have professional development programs for teachers and an adult literacy program, a speakers bureau and we are working on an encyclopedia online.”

When completed, the online encyclopedia will be an encyclopedia of Alabama with a concentration on history.

Temple said this program was launched from a large-scale program that came as a great expense to those who were fortunate to bring them in. Temple said the Main Street program was aimed at rural communities in Alabama like the Black Belt.

“The Smithsonian Institute had a program called SITE which is a program where they rent exhibitions to museums around the country,” Temple said. “They came up with another program called Museums on Main Street to get smaller scale exhibitions in rural towns.”

The program operates with the cooperation of state humanities councils. Temple said they work with the Smithsonian and host a series of helpful events in areas just like Demopolis throughout the year.

“This program depends on state humanities councils,” Temple said. “We work with the Smithsonian and we pay for the sites in Alabama. We help out with the workshops, planning and lectures and we encourage them to do local programs.”

The Demopolis exhibition will be in town Dec. 1, 2006 through Jan. 14, 2007 and will work closely with Christmas on the River.

Temple said Demopolis was ideal for the programs they provide. She said it was an easy choice once they were able to get a feel for the city.

“We try to look at where we have been with the tours in the past and where we are with our current programs,” Temple said. “We try to go to places we haven’t been. It is all very practical. Demopolis is a really good size for one of these tours.”

The program will also provide two scholars to work with the displays.