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The IHC is now accepting applications to host an exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution! This brand-new exhibit will visit six Idaho communities beginning May 2023. IHC covers all expenses including shipping, publicity, travel to two workshops, and provides $1,500 for programming.

The Spark! exhibit explores what ignites innovation. Themes include the spirit of ingenuity, creativity, resiliency, and optimism. Stories in the exhibit are exclusively pulled from the rural communities across the US and will feature new and exciting ways to interact, including augmented reality! It is also the first Smithsonian exhibit under this program to be entirely blilingual (English and Spanish).

Deadline to apply: 6/15/2022, Noon MT

Site Visits:
6/15/2022 – 8/1/2022

Selection Date: 8/1/2022

Exhibition Tour: 5/20/2023 – 3/3/2024

IHC is especially interested in receiving applications from rural communities with populations under 20,000. All organizations across Idaho are welcome to apply!

Please Contact:

Doug Exton, Program Officer Idaho Humanities Council doug@idahohumanities.org

About Spark! Places of Innovation 

The Idaho Humanities Council works with the Smithsonian Institution’s “Museum on Main Street” program (MoMS) to bring Smithsonian traveling exhibitions to small Idaho communities each year. MoMS is a partnership of the Smithsonian Institution’s Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and state humanities councils nationwide, serving small-town museums and citizens of rural America.

Experience the distinctive combinations of places, people, and circumstances that generate innovation and invention in rural communities. Inspired by an exhibition at the National Museum of American History, Spark! will explore real stories of small-town innovation and invention told from the diverse perspectives of the people who have lived it and supported by images and objects unique to the community.

Rather than tell visitors about innovation, Spark! will show what actual innovation looks like in rural America with photographs, interactive components, objects, videos, and augmented reality. These will give viewers a multilayered experiences, revelaing the leaders, challenges, successes, and future of innovation in each featured town. Real stories will be crafted into case studies in the exhibition with the goal of inspiring visitors to think about innovation in their own town and look at the following questions:

    • What is the role of creative thinkers and inventors in a town?
    • What resources do towns have for innovation and invention?
    • How important is the role of self-expression and openness to change?
    • How does a place encourage risk-taking?
    • How can diversity spark innovation?

Learn more about the exhibit and view downloadable resources here: https://museumonmainstreet.org/spark

Learn more about the inspiration behind Spark!: https://americanhistory.si.edu/exhibitions/places-invention

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