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Smithsonian Museum on Main Street:
Voices and Votes "DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA" Exhibit

THROUGH JUNE 20, 2022 ~ THE GALLERY AT MCCC

In partnership with the New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH), Mercer County Community College (MCCC) will host Voices and Votes: Democracy in America, a traveling exhibition created by the Smithsonian Institution, from May 18 to June 20 at the Gallery at Mercer. The exhibition is free and open to the public and is appropriate for all age groups.

MCCC is one of six community colleges in New Jersey selected by NJCH to host Voices and Votes between April 2022 and January 2023. (The complete exhibit schedule can be found here.) MCCC’s proximity to Trenton, Princeton, and other historic sites from the founding of the nation makes it a rich site for exploring, reflecting upon, and retelling stories of American democracy.

The Gallery at Mercer is located on the college’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road, at room 250 on the second floor of the Communication (CM) building.

Starting May 18, exhibit hours are:
  • Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    (The Gallery will be closed Saturday, May 28, for the Memorial Day weekend.)

Guided group tours may be arranged in advance. If you are interested in volunteering as a guide or a greeter, we welcome your participation. (Guides will be trained.) To arrange a tour or to volunteer, email mercervotesexhibit@mccc.edu.

Dates of Note

May 18:  Exhibit opens to the public

May 20:  Extended hours on MCCC Commencement Day, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

June 4:  Future Voters Day – A Day for Teens, Kids and Parents, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

June 7:  Veterans Reception, 6 to 8 p.m.

June 14:  Reception with Trenton Civic Trustees, 6 to 8 p.m.

June 17:  Tribute to NJ Assemblyman John S. Watson, 6 to 8 p.m.

June 20:  Closing day

 

The History of America, the History of the Vote

When American revolutionaries waged a war for independence, they took a leap of faith that had ripple effects across generations. They embraced the radical idea of establishing a government that entrusted the power of the nation not to a monarchy, but to its citizens. That great leap sparked questions that continue to impact Americans today:

  • Who has the right to vote?
  • What are the freedoms and responsibilities of citizens?
  • Whose voices will be heard?

This exhibition examines the nearly 250-year-old American experiment of a government “of, by and for the people,” and how each subsequent generation has continued to explore the formation of “a more perfect union.” Topics include the nation’s founding principles, the struggles to obtain and keep the vote, including women’s suffrage and civil rights, the machinery of democracy and casting of ballots, the right to petition and protest beyond the ballot, and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.

WHAT YOU WILL SEE

Presented in six stand-alone sections, this immersive multimedia exhibit features historical and contemporary photos; educational and archival video; interactive computer-based activities and games; and historical items like campaign souvenirs, voter memorabilia and protest material. A special section will shine a spotlight on New Jersey’s and Trenton’s significant role in the country’s founding, including artifacts from the Trenton Public Library’s Trentoniana Collection.

Voices and Votes is based on an exhibit currently on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History entitled American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith. This Museum on Main Street (MoMS) adaptation features many of the same dynamic elements.

Voices and Votes has been made possible at MCCC by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. Voices and Votes is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the Federation of State Humanities Councils. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.

To learn more about Voices and other MoMS exhibitions, click here.

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