WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Smithsonian Exhibit in Nauvoo

Oct 19, 2012

Rich Egger’s guest on Emphasis is Kim Orth, Executive Director of the Nauvoo Tourism Office. They talk about the traveling Smithsonian exhibit Journey Stories and the accompanying local version of the exhibit.

The local exhibit can be seen in the Nauvoo Tourism Office, 1295 Mullholland Street. The national traveling exhibit is housed next door.

Orth said the local exhibit focuses on four groups that played key roles in Nauvoo’s history: Mormons, Catholics, Germans, and Icarians.  

“One of the things that we really noticed and tried to highlight is each of these groups came to Nauvoo looking for a better life, and we tried to explore why they came to Nauvoo looking for that life and why it may or may not have worked out,” Orth said.

She said that ties in with the theme of the national Journey Stories exhibit.

The local exhibit also features a section on the Keokuk dam, which was completed in 1913. Orth said the Mississippi River at Nauvoo began to rise when the dam was put in.

Orth said the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibit starts early on in history and works its way through the late 1950s. She said it contains six panels and is fairly interactive.

“I really like the interactivity of it,” Orth said. “It can be designed for kids to touch and feel and see different things that might get them thinking about things they wouldn’t normally think about.”

Orth said the Illinois Humanities Council contacted Nauvoo last year about hosting the national exhibit. Community leaders then filled out the paperwork and the community was eventually chosen for it.

“It kind of all just fell into place and it has done a really nice job for us,” Orth said.

Journey Stories will remain on display in Nauvoo through November 10. Orth said it’s possible the local exhibit will continue to be displayed after that, though details still need to be worked out.