Smithsonian Museum Traveling Exhibit Makes First Stop In Northeast Oklahoma

The Voices and Votes: Democracy in America Exhibit is making six stops around the state, each for six weeks. Its other stops include Bristow, Anadarko, Cheyenne, Weatherford, and Bethany.

Friday, April 12th 2024, 10:45 pm



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A new exhibit from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History has made its way to Nowata, Oklahoma.

The traveling exhibit is a part of the Smithsonian's Museum on Main Street Program.

Taking a step back into history, the exhibit is a condensed version of America's democracy ranging from the 1700's all the way to today.

"Welcome to the Voices and Votes: Democracy in America. This is the Smithsonian exhibit," said Nowata County Historical Society and Museum volunteer Debbie Fink. 

The dictionary defines democracy as a government by the people. The exhibit at the Nowata County Historical Society and Museum gave visitors a glimpse into America's history of democracy.

"Democracy affects all of our lives, in economics, in culture, in our responsibilities, in our work, in everything. So, it's very important to us," Fink said. 

The exhibit came from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, in partnership with Oklahoma Humanities. It was an effort to bring the country's complex history to the people.

"It's an experience that if you've got the time to drive to the sleepy little town of Nowata, it'll be a good experience," said Nowata native, Rob Pendley. 

Pendley was one of the first people to lay eyes on the exhibit.

"It's exciting to be able to represent the Smithsonian here in Nowata, Oklahoma," he said. 

Many different topics and pieces of history were displayed throughout the exhibit.

"This panel here is talking about petitioning the government. If you want something to change, the process of petitioning," Fink said. 

Volunteers at the Nowata County Historical Society and Museum said they were excited to see what conversations come from the exhibit.

"We just really think it's a great educational opportunity, and an informational opportunity, and a way for people to start conversations and talk about what our democracy means to us," said Fink. 

The Voices and Votes: Democracy in America Exhibit is making six stops around the state, each for six weeks. Its other stops include Bristow, Anadarko, Cheyenne, Weatherford, and Bethany. More information about the exhibit can be found here

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