Between Fences

October 20, 2006 – August 5, 2007

Between Fences toured Kansas from 2006 – 2007. The exhibition wove the history of fences into the story of America. Whether it is barbed wire, white picket, post rock, split rail, electric wire, or a patio privacy fence, America’s fascination with fences is evident along any highway, county road, or city street.

How do we build our fences? What materials do we use? Where do we place them? The answers to these questions tell us about where we live, how we define our space, and who—or what—we fence in and fence out.

Starting with the most widely built fence, the worm fence, Between Fences explored the settling of the United States, battles between farmers and ranchers over barbed wire, and the introduction of the picket fence to represent “the good life” in our rural and suburban communities. The exhibit also looked at how fences influence human relationships, both between neighbors and countries.

Through a selection of artifacts, photographs, and illustrations, visitors to theBetween Fences exhibit walked through and around five kiosks, all defined by a different fence type and featuring fence-building tools and hands-on activities. The exhibit surprised visitors with its exploration of the multiple meanings behind this everyday icon. What other “fences” in our lives— language, heritage, religion, education—separate us from our neighbors?

Adults and children enjoyed a wide variety of special events at each exhibition site. Local community exhibits, speakers, film festivals, book discussions groups, and fence-building activities were all part of the Between Fences statewide tour through Kansas.

Between Fences was a one-of-a-kind cultural project that serves small town museums and residents of rural America as part of Museum on Main Street, a program that highlights Smithsonian collections, research, and exhibitions.

Between Fences tour schedule

October 20-December 3, 2006
Grassroots Art Center
213 S. Main St.

December 8, 2006-January 21, 2007
Wamego Historical Society Museum
East 4th Street in City Park

January 26-March 11, 2007
Winfield Public Library
605 College

March 16-April 29, 2007
Miami County Swan River Museum
12 E. Peoria

May 4-June 17, 2007
Santa Fe Trail Center
2 miles west of Larned on K-156
June 22-August 5, 2007
Fick Fossil and History Museum
700 W. 3rd St.