The Bushnell-Sage Library is one of six Massachusetts sites hosting “Crossroads: Change in Rural America.”

“Examines the evolving landscape of rural America. So ‘Crossroads’ really looks at how rural American communities changed in the 20th century. Only 3.5% of the United States landscape is considered urban. But since 1900, the percentage of Americans living in rural areas has dropped from 60% to 17%. So the exhibition looks at what a great social change that was, and how what we know to be true in Sheffield and South County, that rural America is very resilient and rural America is not dying, it’s vibrant and prosperous. said Deena Caswell, director of the library. “There is a program through the Smithsonian called the Museum on Main Street. So it’s a Smithsonian partnership with local cultural institutions. So, they work with humanities organizations across the state. So this comes from the Smithsonian and Mass Humanities. This exhibit has been touring the country for the past few years. In 2022, he arrived in Massachusetts. So Mass Humanities put out a call for potential host sites to apply, and the Bushnell-Sage Library is very excited. to be one of six chosen host sites in the state of Massachusetts for this tour.”

Accompanying the traveling exhibition will be a wealth of programming over the six weeks exploring Sheffield’s history.

“Friday, March 31streetwe’ll be presenting a show at Dewey Hall at 7 o’clock looking at the wildlife of Sheffield, and then our final show will be on Saturday 6th May.he, at 2 p.m. That will be off-site, it will be at Greenagers Barn,” Caswell said. “And that is going to see the cataclysmic events that have shaped our landscape, the mountains and valleys of the Berkshires. We all know that we have amazing farmland and scenery. So what does that mean? What does that look like?

Other programs will explore the history of health care in the region, from before the Revolutionary War to the present day.

“We’re also having a show about Ashley Falls. What does it mean to be the first European settlement in the Berkshires? It’s such an interesting story. What does it mean to be a village in a small town?” Caswell asked. “So we’ll have a show of local people telling their family stories, longer stories, really personalizing them.”

A look into the future is also part of the extensive study of Sheffield’s past.

“We are excited to host a community conversation. So, on Thursday April 20he, at Dewey Hall, we will talk about the changes we have seen in Sheffield,” Caswell said. “Recent years have brought new people coming in, older people leaving us. We know that Sheffield is a very community, with long and deep roots. So how do we work with those of us who have been in the city for generations, and those of us like me who have just arrived? How can we all work together to keep Sheffield a vibrant and bustling community?

A juried art exhibition will also take place as Sheffield presents “Crossroads: Change in Rural America.”

“We’ll have a display on Sheffield’s Farmers of the Mass 54th,” Caswell said. mass 54a. It was really cool. So most of the 11 black soldiers from Sheffield who served in the 54th Civil War regiment owned or worked on farms in Sheffield, so that exhibit will look at their history and the other history of African-American families in Sheffield.”

The opening reception is Sunday the 3rd at 3 in Bushnell-Sage.

“We are very excited to be the only host site in the Berkshires,” Caswell told WAMC. “We’re the westernmost site, and we really want to encourage everyone to come and take a look.”


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