Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Coming to Ocean View

a blue house surrounded by flowers and trees

“Crossroads: Change in Rural America” exhibition opens at the Historic Village in Ocean View on Saturday, September 10, 2022 and runs through November 12th.


The Ocean View Historical Society and the surrounding community was expressly chosen by the Delaware Humanities Council to host “Crossroads” as part of the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program—a national/state/local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations.


“Crossroads” explores how rural American communities changed in the 20th century. From sea to shining sea, the vast majority of the United States landscape remains rural yet, since 1900, the percentage of Americans living in rural areas dropped from 60% to 17%. The exhibition looks at that remarkable societal change and how rural Americans responded. Americans have relied on rural crossroads for generations — places where people gather to exchange goods, services and culture and to engage in political and community discussions. Despite the massive economic and demographic impacts brought on by these changes, America’s small towns continue to creatively focus on new opportunities for growth and development.


“Crossroads” allows us to reflect on Southeast Sussex County’s history, and present day status, and fosters much excitement to explore what the future may hold for our communities,” said Dr. Kimberly Grimes, local coordinator. “We want to have conversations about what makes our communities unique and what makes them similar to other areas.”


To kick off the exhibition, there will be a Grand Opening of the Coastal Towns Museum (40 West Ave, Ocean View), on Friday evening, September 9th from 5pm to 8pm. In the Coastal Towns Museum, people will see how the area has transformed from an isolated, agrarian, rural place to a bustling resort community.


“Crossroads” is free and will be open every Friday evening 6pm to 8pm, Saturdays 10am to 4pm and Sunday 1pm to 4pm in the Hall’s Store building on 39 Central Ave. Free parking available on Oakwood and West Avenues.