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Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Examining Democracy in America Comes to Monmouth Museum


originally published: 08/17/2022

Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Examining Democracy in America Comes to Monmouth Museum

(LINCROFT, NJ) -- The Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS), in cooperation with New Jersey Council for the Humanities, presents “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America.” The exhibition examines the nearly 250-year-old American experiment of a government “of, by and for the people,” and how each generation since continues to question how to form “a more perfect union.” An Opening Reception will be held at The Monmouth Museum on the campus of Brookdale Community College on August 20 from 5:00-7:00pm. “Voices and Votes” will be on view through October 2, 2022.  

Brookdale Community College, in collaboration with the Monmouth Museum, was chosen by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities to host “Voices and Votes” as part of the Museum on Main Street program—a national/state/local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations.  

“Voices and Votes” explores the action, reaction, vision, and revision that democracy demands as Americans continue to question how to shape the country. From the revolution and suffrage to civil rights and casting ballots, everyone in every community is part of this ever-evolving story-the story of democracy in America. Exhibition sections explore the origins of American democracy, the struggles to obtain and keep the vote, the machinery of democracy, the right to petition and protest beyond the ballot, and the rights and responsibilities of citizens. “Voices and Votes” has many dynamic features: historical and contemporary photos; educational and archival video; engaging multimedia interactives with short games; and historical objects like campaign souvenirs, voter memorabilia, and protest material. 

 “‘Voice and Votes’ allows us to reflect on Monmouth County’s history and explore what it means to be an active participant in the governance of not only the country but also this community,” said Dr. Stout.  

Throughout the exhibition, “Voices and Votes” will serve as a community meeting place for conversations about democracy, the freedoms, and responsibilities of citizens, participating in government, and more. In addition, the College will host public programs and facilitate educational initiatives to raise people’s understanding about their own history, the joys, and challenges of living rural, how change has impacted our community and prompt discussion of goals for the future. 

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Local organizations participating in the exhibition include Monmouth County Historical Association; Monmouth University Polling Institute; League of Women Voters of Southern Monmouth County; and Energizing Young Voters.

“Voices and Votes” is based on a major exhibition currently on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History called American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith. Content development for Voices and Votes was led by Harry Rubenstein, Curator Emeritus in the Division of Political History at the National Museum of American History.

The exhibition is part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress. To learn more about “Voices” and other Museum on Main Street exhibitions, visit museumonmainstreet.org.   

The Monmouth Museum is located at 765 Newman Springs Road in Lincroft, New Jersey, parking lot #1, 732-747-2266. Exhibition hours are Tuesday – Sunday, 10:00am - 4:00pm. Free admission and open to the public. 




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