We all have stories about travel, trips, migration, and movement.
No matter what our backgrounds, each of us has a powerful journey story deep in our personal history. It may be a story of a family uprooting itself in order to stay together, or sons and daughters moving to another land, or a distant, unknown ancestor.
Americans have always been intensely mobile, and we still are. Farmers, mechanics, entrepreneurs, immigrants, and slaves--all on the move--have built American society over four centuries. Travel over roads, rails, rivers, and trails has shaped the American cultural and economic landscape.
These are the tales told in Journey Stories, a Museum on Main Street project organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in association with the National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center, Smithsonian Institution.
The exhibition, on tour simultaneously in five American states, is now in Wyoming, where it recently found a temporary home at the Laramie County Library.
Check out a few highlights from their showing of Journey Stories:
- The library had 46,760 visitors while the exhibit was on view.
- 274 elementary school students took tours of the exhibit and completed scavenger hunts by reading through the exhibition text.
- 255 people squeezed into the library’s largest meeting room (including at least one state legislator) to hear renowned scholar Dr. Gary Moulton of the University of Nebraska speak on Lewis & Clark among the Plains Indians.
- 659 people attended 23 events hosted for people of all ages at the library in Cheyenne and at the branch libraries in Burns and Pine Bluffs.
- The Cheyenne Genealogical & Historical Society filled the library’s five large exhibition cases with family history memorabilia and information as a supplemental exhibit.
- 23 participants created "Life Rings" and wrote personal journey stories with artist Georgia Rowswell as a public art project and supplemental exhibit.
"All in all," said Jennifer Rife, the library's Design & Humanities Coordinator, "it was a wonderful exhibit that sparked much interest in history and the Laramie County Library is thankful to have been on the Wyoming tour." The exhibition has also visited the Grand Encampment Museum and Eastern Wyoming College, and it will make subsequent stops at the Washakie Museum and Cultural Center and South Lincoln Training and Event Center in Wyoming. Visit the full tour schedule.