Crossroads: Change in Rural America

The Smithsonian exhibit, Crossroads: Change in Rural America is a traveling exhibit that examines past, present, and future in rural communities. Arthurdale is one of seven sites in West Virginia chosen to host Crossroads, and it will be on display here from December 13, 2021 – January 21, 2022. Admission is free to everyone!

At the beginning of the 20th century, about 40% of Americans lived in rural areas, but by the 2010 census, this had decreased to less than 18%. Yet all Americans benefit from the success of rural America, and it is important to examine the communities and people who live in these areas. Rural areas are the crossroads where Americans come together and where they can invest together in building the future. There is an assumption that rural communities are dying or are just hanging on by a thread, but this is far from the truth. Many people who live in rural areas are deeply invested and work hard to sustain their communities.

“I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Arthurdale, WV is a place at the crossroads: A New Deal community where 165 families had an opportunity for a fresh start in 1934. People came together to build a better life, work cooperatively, and form a community, and we are still preserving that heritage and working to build the future here.

Historic Arthurdale: Co-op General Store
Arthurdale Co-op General Store

Crossroads asks us to look at ourselves and to sincerely examine both the good and the bad in our communities. At Arthurdale, we want to carefully consider the past, present, and future, not only of our community, but of West Virginia as a whole.

Some of the questions that Crossroads asks us to consider are:

  • What is the future of rural America? 
  • How does “rural” affect American identity?  
  • How do the ingenuity and determination of rural West Virginians contribute to our state’s success?  
  • Why do people leave, and why do they stay?  
  • What can we do for the people who live in rural communities?  
  • How are rural communities part of our vision of the future in America? 
  • Why should revitalizing the rural places matter to those who remain, those who left, and those who will come in the future?  
Crossroads Exhibit

Come to Arthurdale between December 13 – January 21 and find yourself at the crossroads. From our marginalized voices project to art classes, marionette shows, and an oral history open house, we have a lot of free and exciting events planned, and we are eager to share them with all of you!

To learn more about Crossroads, visit the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street page here.

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Our craft shop, guided tour, and Smithsonian Crossroads Exhibit hours are:

Monday-Friday 10-3

Saturday 9-5

The Smithsonian Crossroads Exhibit will be here from December 13, 2021 - January 21, 2021.

QUESTIONS? Phone:  304 864 3959    Email:  ahi@ArthurdaleHeritage.org

Masks are required for guided tours