A Smithsonian Museums on Main Street exhibition
From September 2007 through July 2008, thousands of people visited the Between Fences exhibition on its Wisconsin tour, hosted by the communities of Waupaca, Hales Corners, La Farge, Sauk Prairie, Clear Lake, and Cable. The Wisconsin tour is over, but the conversations inspired by the many wonderful programs, events, and the exhibition itself, continue. The Wisconsin Humanities Council brought this exhibition to the state and supported the tour and related programs in these six communities. Click here to learn more about the Museums on Main Street exhibition Between Fences, produced by the Smithsonian Institution.
Read more about the community hosts here.
Designed for communities of 10,000 residents or less, the Between Fences exhibition explores themes of land use, American history, borders, boundaries, and how communities and individuals define and define themselves. The exhibition encourages people to reflect on this common icon and its literal, and figurative, role in our lives prompting community groups, school groups, historical societies, libraries, and others to work together to make connections to their own unique “fences.” The Wisconsin Humanities Council hosted workshops to provide professional development and program support for the six community hosts and provided grant funds, a companion kiosk about fences in Wisconsin, and a book discussion series to encourage community conversation.
We live between fences—personal, national, geo-political, conceptual. And as we dismantle
boundaries we no longer need, we also erect new barriers. From picket fences to chain links
to barbed wire and beyond, fences imply security, decoration, ownership, and industry.
But who defines that property? How have rivals negotiated boundaries in the past? And how do we reinforce our borders today?