Smithsonian Institute | Crossroads: Change in Rural America

Nelson County is one of six localities in Virginia selected to host a 2021-2022 Smithsonian Institute Museum on Main Street traveling exhibit, Crossroads: Changes in Rural America. The exhibit, housed in the Nelson Memorial Library, will focus on the changes over the past century in rural Nelson County. The Nelson County Historical Society and Oakland Museum, Nelson Memorial Library and the Nelson County Schools are strong partners in the exhibit’s program of work.

The exhibit will focus on a very diverse rural landscape that has seen tremendous change over the past century as a result of changes in the economy, industries and natural disasters. These changes have only redirected the community toward a vibrant future by focusing on its natural beauty, people and strengths with the wonderful qualities associated with small-town, rural living.

For more information, contact Nelson County Tourism at info@nelsoncounty.org or 434-263-7015

MARCH 12 ~ APRIL 17, 2022
Nelson Memorial Library
8521 Thomas Nelson Highway
Lovingston VA 22949


EXHIBIT HOURS
Mon & Tues: 9:30am – 7pm
Wednesday-Friday: 9:30am – 5pm
Saturday: 9:30am – 4pm
Sunday: Closed
Special Sunday Tour 3/20:  3:30 – 5:30pm

DOWNLOAD THE EXHIBIT SCHEDULE (pdf)

Saturday, 3/12 –
Sunday, 4/17

BOOK DISPLAY
Special book displays will be throughout the library promoting the rural landscape and history of Nelson County. During regular library hours.

CHILDREN’S SCAVENGER HUNT
While visiting the Crossroads exhibit the staff of Nelson Memorial Library will have a scavenger hunt available for your child. Complete the hunt, turn it into a library staff member, and get a prize.

Saturday, 3/19

HISTORIC RAILWAY CABOOSE OPEN HOUSE: Honoring the Memory and Legacy of Ted Hughes
9 am to 12 noon (rain date is 3/26)
Caboose and depot will be open to tour. Other railway exhibits on display.
BLUE RIDGE RAILWAY TRAIL
3124 Patrick Henry Highway
Piney River, VA 22964
434-263-7130

Sunday, 3/20

SPECIAL SUNDAY SMITHSONIAN EXHIBIT HOURS
3:30 to 5:30 pm
NELSON MEMORIAL LIBRARY

NAVIGATING AMERICAN HISTORY
2pm
Edward Ayers, University Professor of the Humanities and Executive Director of New American History, University of Richmond. Edward Ayers has been named National Professor of the Year, received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama at the White House, served as president of the Organization of American Historians, and won the Bancroft Prize for distinguished writing in American history.  He served as the founding board chair of the American Civil War Museum in Richmond and serves on the boards of Colonial Williamsburg, the Fort Monroe Foundation, and the Valentine Museum.  He is executive director of New American History, dedicated to making the nation’s history more visible and useful for a broad range of audiences.  He is president emeritus at the University of Richmond.
NELSON COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL
6919 Thomas Nelson Highway
Lovingston VA 22949

Saturday, 3/26

VIETNAM WAR MUSEUM OPEN HOUSE: Honoring the Vietnam Veterans
10am to 4pm
View artifacts and learn more about the Vietnam War and Foreign Conflicts Foundation. March 29 is National Vietnam Day.
VIETNAM WAR MUSEUM
3415 Thomas Nelson Highway
Arrington VA 22922

PHOTO SCANNING
10am to 4pm
Photos of Nelson County buildings before 1950 both existing and those that are no longer standing. Appointments suggested – email info@nelsonhistorical.org
OAKLAND MUSEUM
5365 Thomas Nelson Hwy
Arrington, VA 22922

Sunday, 3/27

A LOOK BACK & FORWARD: NELSON COUNTY SCHOOLS
2pm
Dr. Woody Greenberg, Professor Emeritus – Director Emeritus Donovan Media Development Center, Kim Douglas, Nelson County School Director of Instruction and Innovation and Tonya Carter. Principal of TRES. Dr. Greenberg will speak on the history of public education in Nelson County with special attention to the challenges faced by a rural school system in periods of changing circumstances. Ms. Douglas and Ms. Carter will talk about today’s approach to education in Nelson County and the future of education in the County.
NELSON HERITAGE CENTER
1653 Thomas Nelson Highway
Arrington VA 22929

VIETNAM WAR MUSUEM OPEN HOUSE: Honoring the Vietnam Veterans
10am to 4pm
View artifacts and learn more about the Vietnam War and Foreign Conflicts Foundation. March 29 is National Vietnam Day.
VIETNAM WAR MUSEUM
3415 Thomas Nelson Highway
Arrington VA 22922

Saturday, 4/2

ACCESSIBLE TOURS OF THE BLUE RIDGE TUNNEL with the Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation
9am to 12noon
Foundation members will offer guided tours and golf cart service through the tunnel. Rain date is 4/9.
BLUE RIDGE TUNNEL: East Entrance
215 Afton Depot Lane
Afton VA 22920

Sunday 4/3

RACESIDE MARKET AT WOODSON’S MILL
12 noon – 4 pm
Deep Roots Milling will hold its millrace market at the historic Woodson’s Mill. The market includes vendors selling artisan crafts, farm produce and wood-fired pizza. Visit the historic mill and see the water wheel in action and take home some Virginia stone ground goodness.
WOODSON’S MILL
3211 Lowesville Road
Roseland, VA 22967

Sunday, 4/10

RURAL ELECTRIFICATION & BROADBAND IN NELSON COUNTY
2pm
Central Virginia Electric Cooperative President Gary Wood will share the history of rural electrification and the journey that Nelson County has made to make broadband available to its citizens and businesses.
ROCKFISH VALLEY COMMUNITY CENTER
Rockfish University Room
190 Rockfish School Lane
Afton VA 22920

OAKLAND MUSEUM

The public is invited to extend their knowledge of rural Nelson County by visiting the Nelson County Historical Society’s museum, Oakland which offers exhibits on tools, post offices, rural electrification and more. The museum is open Wednesdays 1- 4 pm, Saturdays from 10 am – 4 pm and by appointment by calling 434-263-8400.
OAKLAND MUSEUM
5365 Thomas Nelson Hwy
Arrington, VA 22922

NELSON COUNTY SCHOOL PROJECTS

Oral Histories

“Museum On Main” Project – Nelson County Public Schools Talented and Gifted Program: Nelson Middle School students and Tye River and Rockfish Elementary students studying World History chose someone to interview about their traditions and past memories on living in rural Nelson County. The students took the information learned to create a display board, scrapbook or other creative asset. They have conducted oral interviews with Nelson county natives and relatives about life in Nelson County during the depression, World War II, and other world events and the impact on Nelson County.
Students collected oral histories from residents that will be available for viewing on the television in the old kitchen at Oakland.

Art & Photo Display

The students chose a building, home, museum, road or etc. in Nelson Country. They created a drawing illustrating what it was like “then” and another picture on what it looks like “now”. They will frame the pictures, and write a brief summary on how it has changed over the years. Nelson County Student Art/Photo display of “What rural life in Nelson County means to you?” as well as display of U. S. History Student’s Study of Architectural Styles in the Villages of Nelson.
The displays will be at the Nelson Memorial Library, 8521 Thomas Nelson Highway, Lovingston VA 22949

Music Video

The music teachers chose a song that was popular in rural areas for students to sing. They are making a video that will be shared at the exhibit. Philip Kershner – 7th and 8th Grade students will be singing “Wayfaring Stranger” a traditional American spiritual. Jaime Ryder will be doing a song called “Weevily Wheat” and a folk dance which is from this area of Virginia. Morgan Robertson will be having kindergarten or second grade singing “Over in the Meadow” with an introduction on why she chose this song.