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Background Image museum exhibition with Smithsonian logo

"Americans" Smithsonian Exhibition

The Smithsonian is coming to Kansas!

Humanities Kansas is bringing Americans, a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition to Kansas for an exclusive tour August 2025 – July 2026.

Americans is based on the exhibition of the same name currently on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). Curated by Paul Chaat Smith (Comanche), the exhibit uncovers the many ways American Indian images, names, and stories have been part of the nation’s identity since before the country began.

About Americans​ 

Images of American Indians are everywhere, from the Land O’Lakes butter maiden to classic​ Westerns and cartoons. American Indian names are everywhere, too, from states and cities to street names. Beyond these images and names are familiar historical events and stories—Thanksgiving, Pocahontas, the Trail of Tears and Battle of Little Bighorn—that continue to speak ​to the collective imagination.

Americans offers a new way of understanding familiar events and images. Using historical photographs and objects from the Smithsonian's collection, the exhibition offers an optimistic and provacative way to understand America's past and present, reminding us that American Indians are an integral part of our nation's history, culture, and identity.

The information above is provided by the Smithsonian Institution. More information about the Americans exhibition can be found here.

Humanities Kansas is working with representatives from tribal leadership and the Indigenous communities to bring this exciting exhibit to Kansas.

Apply to Host the Smithsonian

HK invites in-state nonprofit cultural organizations, museums, art centers, public libraries, and others to apply to host the Smithsonian traveling exhibition. The exhibition requires a minimum of 750 square feet of exhibit space, 8.5-foot ceilings, and access to electrical outlets. Sites are chosen based on the strength of proposed ideas for auxiliary events, diverse audiences, meaningful partnerships, geographic location, and physical display space. 

Host Sites Receive:

  • Free rental of the Smithsonian’s Americans exhibition.
  • Up to $3,500 to support the creation of a local companion exhibit as well as community programs such as guest lectures, book discussions, and community forums.
  • Access to special HK programs and scholars.
  • Publicity materials such as posters, press kits, and banner.
  • Professional installation and de-installation guidance.
  • An exhibit support manual and program planning assistance. 
  • Travel expenses to attend two training workshops.
  • Free capacity building opportunities including attending the Kansas Museums Association conference.

Application Deadline: June 26, 2024.

Guidelines    

Apply

 

Can’t host the Smithsonian exhibition, but still interested in the participating in the statewide conversation? Become a Partner Site. Partner Sites do not host the Americans exhibition, but instead receive grants up to $2,500 to develop exhibitions and public events that explore how the exhibit themes connect to local history and interests. Find out more here.

Become a Partner Site 

 

Questions? Contact Abigail Kaup, Program Officer, at abigail@humanitieskansas.org or (785) 357-0359.

 

Americans is part of Museum on Main Street (MoMS), a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and Humanities Kansas to bring high-quality traveling exhibitions, educational resources, and programming primarily to small and rural communities in partnership with their local museums, historical societies, and other cultural venues. The exhibitions are designed to engage communities and spark conversations.

 

 

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