Smithsonian Institution exhibit ‘Voices and Votes: Democracy in America’ to be on display through Oct. 10 at Betty J. Johnson North Sarasota Public Library

Numerous ‘dynamic features’ part of the presentation, including interactive options

Image courtesy Sarasota County

A Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit on voting in America has launched its statewide tour of Florida at the Betty J. Johnson North Sarasota Public Library in North Sarasota.

Voices and Votes: Democracy in America is based on a major exhibition on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., a news release points out. The exhibit “tells the story of America’s democratic form of government. This Museum on Main Street adaptation includes many of the same dynamic features: historical and contemporary photos; educational and archival video; engaging multimedia [interactive displays] with short games and additional footage, photos, and information”; and objects such as campaign souvenirs, voter memorabilia, and protest material, the release adds.

Voices and Votes will be on display at the Betty J. Johnson North Sarasota Library through Oct. 10, the release points out.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the library staff has implemented social-distancing practices, it is limiting the number of simultaneous visitors, and staff regularly is sanitizing the exhibit, the release says.

Visitors are encouraged to verify the library’s hours and other information by calling the facility at 941-861-1360, the release notes.

A number of online events, in partnership with civic groups The Village Square and Braver Angels, will augment the physical exhibit, the release points out. “These programs include book discussions, documentary screenings, and workshops to recognize and lessen the effects of polarization on political conversations,” the release continues. Learn about the virtual events here.

The exhibit is made possible “by generous funding from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation,” the release notes.

“Gulf Coast Community Foundation is honored to partner with Florida Humanities to bring this wonderful educational opportunity to our residents here in Sarasota County,” said

Mark S. Pritchett, president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation, in the release. “We hope to inspire our community to engage in conversations about our local history and the story of democracy in America.”

The exhibit features six thematic sections, the release explains. “Each explores historic content and poses questions relevant to our contemporary form of government,” the release adds.

“Florida is one of only four states in the nation to receive this new traveling exhibition,” said Steve Seibert, executive director of Florida Humanities, in the release. “Although there is a greater focus on politics during presidential election years, this exhibit proves there are opportunities for citizens to remain engaged every year,” he added in the release.

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