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“Crossroads: Change in Rural America”

Marshall Public Library will be hosting traveling Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” March 25th through May 4th with a special public preview Sunday, March 24th from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Folklore singer Chris Vallillo will be begin singing at 2:00 p.m. with light refreshments. Those in attendance will enjoy touring the newly renovated library while exploring nationally acclaimed exhibit depicting changes in rural America over the past 100 years. Local exhibits will also be on display depicting “Cork: Change in Rural Medical Care” and “Agriculture: Change in Rural Farms”.


The Crossroads tour will kick off with a special program Thursday, March 28th at 6:30 p.m. with local physician James Turner presenting: “From the plains of Clark County to the Nuba Mountains of Sudan” Dr. Turner will tell the story of how Dr. George Mitchell’s medical philosophies are being used by and Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and Aurora prize winner Dr. Tom Catena in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan.


Weekly programs will be held each Thursday during the exhibit:


Thursday, April 4th at 6:30 PM

IL Humanities Road Scholar Brian Fox Ellis presents:

“John Deere: History and Future”

As John Deere, historian and author, Brian “Fox” Ellis, covers a hundred years of agricultural history and then leads a discussion on the future of farming. Raising issues like the pros and cons of agriculture versus agribusiness, the role of technology and mechanization, the small family farm, centennial farms, and community service agriculture, this program promises to engage the audience in a complex conversation on how we continue to feed the world.


Thursday, April 11th at 6:30 PM

University of Illinois Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness Mary Liz Wright presents:

“From Red Flannel Hash to Roasted Brussel Sprouts; How Food Has Changed in the Last 100 Years”

This program will highlight food trends, the globalization of food and changes in food safety practices over the last 100 years.



Thursday, April 18th at 6:30 PM

University of Illinois Extension Educator, Commercial Agriculture Jessie Soule presents:

“Changing Face of Midwest Families”

The Midwest over the past 100 years has experienced significant changes in farm households and farm structures, spurred by ever-changing technological and sociopolitical factors. Educator, Jesse Soule will take a closer at some of these factors in an effort to better understand how farm families have evolved, and how rural America will continue to evolve.



Thursday, April 25th at 6:30 PM

Author and Historian Tim Crumrin presents:

“Roads Not Taken: How Interstates and Highways Changed Rural America”

The locating of a highway could make or break rural communities, lead to their rise or decline. This presentation will look at how two highways, the National Road and Interstate 70, effected the fortunes of two small towns, West Terre Haute, Indiana and Marshall, Illinois. Tim Crumrin is an award-winner historian and author who has published over fifty articles and books.; He grew up in both Marshall and West Terre Haute.



Thursday, May 2nd at 6:30 PM

Movie @ the Library detailing Dr. Tom Catena’s documentary:

“One Heart. One Doctor. One Million People: The Heart of Nuba”

In the war-torn Nuba Mountains of Sudan, American doctor Tom Catena selflessly and courageously serves the needs of a forgotten people, while the region is bombed relentlessly by an indicted war criminal, Omar Al-Bashir. Two things remain constant: Dr. Tom's faith and his enduring love for the Nuba people.


To register for any one of these free programs please call the library at 217-826-2535 or use the online forms linked to each program title.


Additional resources including interviews and photographs related to the local agriculture and medical exhibits are available here.

Further reading regarding rural life, farming, and medical care are avaible through our online database, GVRL.  (password is remote)