ALA announces 'Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963,' a traveling exhibition opportunity

For Immediate Release
Tue, 08/27/2013


Jennifer Dominiak

Program Officer, Exhibitions

Public Programs Office


CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and National Museum of American History (NMAH), invites applications from public, academic and special libraries, small museums, and historical societies for the traveling exhibition  Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963.

The traveling exhibition is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor (NEH).  Online applications must be submitted to ALA by October 21, 2013.

The original exhibition is currently on view at the NMAH,  where it will remain until September 7, 2014.  More information, including photographs from the original exhibition, is available on the Smithsonian website.

Changing America will help public audiences understand and discuss the relationship between two great peoples’ movements that resulted in the Emancipation Proclamation, and the March on Washington in 1963. One hundred years separate the Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington, yet these two events are profoundly linked together in a larger story of liberty and the American experience. Both events were the results of people demanding justice. Both grew out of decades of bold actions, resistance, organization, and vision. In both we take inspiration from those who marched toward freedom.

Sites selected for the Changing America exhibition tour will be required to present an opening event and at least two public humanities programs for adult audiences, presented by qualified humanities scholars and related to exhibition themes. Public programming will encourage scholar-led reflection upon and discussion about the major issues surrounding the Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington and acquaint new audiences with the history of these two critical events in American history.

Fifty sites will be selected to present the traveling version of the exhibition in their communities for a period of six weeks. The exhibition requires approximately 1,200-1,400 square feet for optimal display.  All sites selected for the project will receive a grant of $1,700 from the ALA, with funding provided by the NEH, for expenses related to public programs. A planning webinar/workshop and online program resources will be available for all selected sites. The tour and programs will begin in January 2014 and continue through December 2017.

The ALA Public Programs Office promotes cultural and community programming as an essential part of library service in all types and sizes of libraries. Successful library programming initiatives have included “Let’s Talk About It” reading and discussion series, traveling exhibitions, film discussion programs, the Great Stories CLUB, LIVE@ your library and more.  Recently, the ALA Public Programs Office developed, an online resource center bringing librarians timely and valuable information to support them in the creation of high-quality cultural programs for their communities. For more information on the ALA Public Programs Office, visit  

The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established as a Smithsonian museum by an Act of Congress in 2003. It is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history and culture. It is now under construction on Washington’s National Mall, on a five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument. It is scheduled to open in winter 2015. For more information, visit

The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage through exhibitions and public programs about social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. Documenting the American experience from Colonial times to the present, the museum looks at growth and change in the United States. For more information, visit

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities.  NEH grants enrich classroom learning, create and preserve knowledge and bring ideas to life through public television, radio, new technologies, exhibitions and programs in libraries, museums and other community places.  Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at