Illinois Humanities Brings Traveling World-class Exhibitions to Vespasian Warner Public Library, January 3 – February 5, 2022

For Immediate Release: November 12, 2021Contact: | 773.251.4772

Illinois Humanities

Read Time 4 minutes
November 12, 2021

The exhibitions will highlight opportunities for civic action and results of that action, and the pursuit of civil rights by and for African Americans in Illinois.


Illinois Humanities is excited to announce the Vespasian Warner Public Library will host Voices and Votes: Democracy in America, the newest Museum on Main Street exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution, and Illinois Freedom Project, an examination of the pursuit of civil rights by and for African Americans in Illinois. These two exhibits will be at the library from January 3 – February 5, 2022, 310 N Quincy St, Clinton, IL.

Voices and Votes explores questions stemming from the leap of faith taken by the American revolutionaries who established a government that entrusted the power of the nation not in a monarchy but in its citizens. The exhibition explores the questions: Who has the right to vote, what are the freedoms and responsibilities of citizens, and whose voices will be heard?

Vespasian Warner Public Library is one of six organizations selected by Illinois Humanities to host Voices and Votes during its statewide tour, which began at the Madison County Administration Building in Edwardsville on July 17 and will conclude at the General John A. Logan Museum in Murphysboro on March 16, 2022. Other locations include Bryan-Bennett Library in Salem, the Savanna Museum and Cultural Center, and the Jacksonville Area Museum.

“It’s always an honor and a pleasure to work with our friends at the vibrant community institution that is Vespasian Warner Public Library,” commented Gabrielle Lyon, executive director of Illinois Humanities.

“We’re eager to see the intriguing companion exhibition that they’re planning,” Lyon continued. “It will examine how issues involving the relationship between citizens and government, which Voices and Votes discusses from a national perspective, have manifested themselves at the local level in Clinton and DeWitt County.”

Voices and Votes: Democracy in America is touring Illinois under the auspices of Museum on Main Street, a partnership between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and state humanities councils, including Illinois Humanities. It enables Illinoisans to experience Smithsonian-produced exhibitions on significant themes in American culture in their own communities.

It also gives the local cultural organizations that host those exhibitions opportunities to enhance their capacities in a variety of ways. Each host organization produces a locally focused companion exhibition linking the subject matter of the Smithsonian-produced exhibition to the history and culture of its own community or region. It also presents public programs that engage audiences and participants with the topics and themes of the exhibition.

Along with Voices and Votes and its locally focused companion exhibition, Vespasian Warner Public Library will host the Illinois Freedom Project exhibition. An outgrowth of an educational program that engages young people with African American history in Illinois, the Illinois Freedom Project exhibition traces Black Illinoisans’ struggles for freedom from the French Colonial era to early-20th-century Chicago. It is touring the state in conjunction with Voices and Votes.

Tim Townsend, historian with the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield and one of the coordinators of the Illinois Freedom Project, comments, “The Illinois Freedom Project provides a glimpse into the struggles and victories of African Americans in Illinois. We are thrilled to be able to partner with Museum on Main Street and Illinois Humanities and look forward to working with the host organizations in presenting the Illinois Freedom Project traveling exhibit.”

Voices and Votes: Democracy in America is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and State Humanities Councils nationwide. It is based on an exhibition by the National Museum of American History. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.

Exhibition Schedule* // View exhibitions map here.

  • July 19 – August 21, 2021: Madison County Historical Society, Edwardsville
  • August 28 – October 2, 2021: Bryan-Bennett Library, Salem
  • October 9 – November 13, 2021: Savanna Museum and Cultural Center, Savanna
  • November 20 – December 23, 2021: Jacksonville Area Museum, Jacksonville
  • January 1 – February 5, 2022: Vespasian Warner Public Library District, Clinton
  • February 12 – March 16, 2022: General John A. Logan Museum, Murphysboro
  • July 17 – August 21, 2021: Wood River Museum, Wood River
  • August 28 – October 2, 2021: Bryan-Bennett Library, Salem
  • October 9 – November 13, 2021: York Township Public Library, Thomson
  • November 20 – December 18, 2021: Old School Museum, Winchester
  • January 1 – February 5, 2022: Vespasian Warner Public Library District, Clinton
  • February 12 – March 16, 2022: African American Museum of Southern Illinois, Carbondale

*Please consult host organizations’ websites to confirm schedules.


Illinois Humanities, the Illinois affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is a statewide nonprofit organization that activates the humanities through free public programs, grants, and educational opportunities that foster reflection, spark conversation, build community, and strengthen civic engagement. We provide free, high-quality humanities experiences throughout Illinois, particularly for communities of color, individuals living on low incomes, counties and towns in rural areas, small arts and cultural organizations, and communities highly impacted by mass incarceration. Founded in 1974, Illinois Humanities is supported by state, federal, and private funds.

Learn more about Illinois Humanities at and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ILHumanities.