Real stories from real people

The Smithsonian’s new Stories from Main Street podcast shares the authentic voices and stories of people from small towns and rural communities across the United States.

Promo image for podcast "Take me to the water"

The Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program has launched its first podcast, “Smithsonian’s Stories from Main Street.” Everybody has a story to tell. The Smithsonian’s Stories from Main Street podcast shares the authentic voices and stories of people from small towns and rural communities across the United States. Gathered by MoMS and its partners, venues, and Stories: YES participants in towns all over, the stories featured in these curated episodes are raw, and real, and provide a unique window into the ever-changing, multi-faceted and diverse nature of America. Listen in and hear the patterns and connections in the stories—there may be differences between the miles, but there are probably a lot of similarities, too.

The first season takes inspiration from the many people who have shared stories during the national tours of the MoMS exhibition “Water/Ways.” The episodes dive into an essential biological and natural resource of life—water. The stories reflect water’s impact on work and play, in agriculture and landscape, and in personal experience and memory. Available now, the first episode, “Take Me to the Water,” explores human relationships with water from the sprinklers and stock ponds of Nebraska and the Pacific waters teeming with life around Maui, to the spiritual connections of the Ojibwe to the Great Lakes.

The “Smithsonian’s Stories from Main Street” podcast is hosted by Hannah Hethmon, podcast producer and host of her own podcast “Museums in Strange Places.” Each of the six episodes in the first season features an array of stories from diverse voices that provide a unique look at Americans’ connections to water. New episodes will debut every two weeks.

  • Episode 1: “Take Me to the Water,” exploring the many ways water connects and defines people
  • Episode 2: “Work and the Water,” navigating stories that highlight the wide range of livelihoods that exist for the water and because of it
  • Episode 3: “How We Grow,” digging into the ways water contributes to almost everything needed for growth and survival
  • Episode 4: “An Invitation to Play,” sharing stories about fun and recreation at the water’s edge
  • Episode 5: “Over and Under,” providing stories from people talking about their experiences swimming and diving beneath the waves
  • Episode 6: “Worth Saving,” presenting stories from people about working to sustain water quality and availability in their communities

The Stories from Main Street project encourages people to embrace their history and uncover community stories. To date, thousands of Americans have participated in the program, and those stories, often unedited, are on social media, in MoMS’ traveling exhibitions and now in a podcast. Since 2012, MoMS has engaged students in a dozen states through the Stories: YES initiative. Approximately 600 youth from small communities have researched topics important to their towns’ histories, conducted interviews, collected photos and footage, and assembled their work into a final digital project.

Be sure to check your favorite podcast platform for the Smithsonian’s Stories from Main Street podcast and subscribe!

Listen to Episode 1 now.

Posted: 9 September 2020
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