Smithsonian Institution: Museum on Main Street

Journey Stories
Opening October 18, 2012
2-4p- International Voices:Capturing Their Journeys to UMES
Frederick Douglas Library
4-6P- Journey Stories
Mosely Gallery

Journey stories – tales of how we and our ancestors came to America – are a central element of our personal heritage. From Native Americans to new American citizens and regardless of our ethnic or racial background, everyone has a story to tell. Our history is filled with stories of people leaving behind everything – families and possessions – to reach a new life in another state, across the continent, or even across an ocean. The reasons behind those decisions are myriad. Many chose to move, searching for something better in a new land. Others had no choice, like enslaved Africans captured and relocated to a strange land and bravely asserting their own cultures, or like Native Americans already here, who were often pushed aside by newcomers.

Our transportation history is more than boats, buses, cars, wagons, and trucks. The development of transportation technology was largely inspired by the human drive for freedom. The Museum on Main Street exhibition Journey Stories will examine the intersection between modes of travel and Americans’ desire to feel free to move. The story is diverse and focused on immigration, migration, innovation, and freedom. It is accounts of immigrants coming in search of promise in a new country; stories of individuals and families relocating in search of fortune, their own homestead, or employment; the harrowing journeys of Africans and Native Americans forced to move; and, of course, fun and frolic on the open road.

The story of the intersection between transportation and American society is complicated, but it tells us much about who we are – people who see our societal mobility as a means for assertingour individual freedom. Journey Stories will use engaging images with audio and artifacts to tell the individual stories that illustrate the critical roles travel and movement have played in building our diverse American society.


The Global Village in the New Millennium

Freedom to Travel:  When the Proper Airs of Refinement, Beautiful Clothes, and a Packed Lunch Were Just Not Enough