The crowd flowed out the door onto the sidewalk at the grand opening ceremony for the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibit, “Crossroads: Change in Rural America.”

The ceremony was held on Saturday, Jan. 25 in downtown Cuthbert. More than 100 people attended and were welcomed by Cuthbert Mayor Steve Whatley and Andrew College President Linda R. Buchanan. Andrew College is hosting the exhibit in a building they own at 72 Dawson Street. Locals will remember it as the former Maloof Building. Music, directed by Dr. Dan Kolan, was provided by the Andrew College Jazz Combo.

Special guests in attendance who gave short remarks included Laura McCarty, Georgia Humanities president; Ann McCleary, exhibit curator, West Georgia University; Gerald Greene, state representative; Kathy Burns, representative for Senator David Perdue; Joyce White, USDA state director; Anthony Parker, Albany Tech president; Cheryl Meadows, Diverse Power representative;

Wesley Williams, Randolph County Commission chairman; Rebecca White, Randolph County Chamber and Development Authority director; Karan Pittman, site co-director and Andrew College academic dean; and Mary Jane Salter, site co-director & Andrew College special assistant to the president. George Flowers, Andrew College board chairman also was in attendance.

Months in the planning stages, the main exhibit examines the evolving landscape of rural America during the 20th century. There also are local exhibits on display that include agriculture, timber, electric power, education, Native America, and religion. Visitors also are able to vote on their favorite rural photo at an exhibit featuring a photo competition.

Mary Jane Salter, site co-director, remarked that she was extremely pleased at the turn out for the grand opening. “People have come together to support the exhibit and discuss what they would like the future of Cuthbert and Randolph County to be. The local exhibits are especially interesting to our visitors and our docents have said that they’ve already heard many conversations revolve around those displays. I was especially delighted on Saturday to meet Teddy Maloof, the grandson of the former owner of the Maloof Building. He told me many stories about being in Cuthbert and working at his grandfather’s store.” Salter said that these stories are important to hear in order to understand the history of our community.

In conjunction with the Grand Opening, Andrew College hosted a Farmer’s Market in Magnolia Alley. Business Professor Chris Serafin was instrumental in securing vendors. This will be an ongoing market, the next one to be held on Feb. 15.

Cuthbert is one of only six communities in Georgia to be hosting the Smithsonian exhibit. It is part of Museum on Main Street, a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution and Georgia Humanities.

The exhibit will be open through Feb. 29 at these times: Mon.-Wed., noon to 6 p.m.; Thurs. 2-8 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Other hours available by request.

In conjunction with the exhibit, unique stories will be told through the following lectures, music and historic tours.

» Lecture: Changes in Government and Community, Thursday, Jan. 30, 1:30 p.m., Liddie Murphy Theatre, Old Main, Andrew College, 501 College Street, Cuthbert

» Lecture: The Influence of the Agriculture & Timber Industries in Randolph County and Southwest Georgia, Saturday, Feb. 8, Shellman Depot, 58 Park Ave., Shellman. Breakfast, 9 a.m., lecture follows

» Historic Music Performance, Sounds from Randolph County: Thursday, Feb. 20, 6 p.m., Historic Randolph County Courthouse, 51 Court St., Cuthbert

» Henderson House Museum: Open M-W, 2-4 p.m., Thursday, 4-6 p.m., F-S, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; 338 Andrew Street, Cuthbert

» Permanent Exhibits featuring medical history, the Civil War, and the African American mid 1800s community are located at the Historic Randolph County Courthouse, 51 Court St., Cuthbert

Major sponsors of the local Smithsonian exhibition include Andrew College, Georgia Farm Bureau, Diverse Power, Golden Triangle RC&D, Randolph Chamber of Commerce, Benevolence Church, and P & P Land Services, LLC. All events are free and open to all.

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