The Savanna Museum and Cultural Center will host “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America,” produced by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, from Oct. 9 through Nov. 13.

“Voices and Votes” addresses questions stemming from our national founders' profound decision to entrust the governance of the United States not to a monarchy, but to its citizens: Who has the right to vote? What are the freedoms and responsibilities of citizens? Whose voices will be heard?

Using historical and contemporary photographs, videos, interactive multimedia components, and artifacts, the exhibition examines the following themes:

•"The Great Leap" — The origins of America's democratic system.

•"A Vote, A Voice" — The expansion of the right to vote and challenges related to it, past and present.

•"The Machinery of Democracy" — The institutions and systems that facilitate participation in the electoral process.

•"Beyond the Ballot" — Civic participation, advocacy, and activism beyond the electoral process.

•"Creating Citizens" — Perspectives on the rights and responsibilities of citizens and their influence upon our complex national identity.

The Savanna Museum will also offer a locally focused companion exhibition discussing democracy-related issues that arose early in Carroll County's history.

At the same time (Oct. 9-Nov. 13), York Township Public Library in Thomson will host the Illinois Freedom Project exhibition. It discusses the pursuit of civil rights by and for African Americans in Illinois.

An outgrowth of an educational program that engages young people with African American history in Illinois, the Illinois Freedom Project exhibition traces Black Illinoisans' struggles for liberty and equality from the French Colonial era to early-20th-century Chicago.

Both exhibitions are presented in conjunction with Museum on Main Street, a program conducted cooperatively by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the state humanities councils (including Illinois Humanities) that enables local institutions in rural America to engage their communities with world-class exhibitions on significant themes in American culture.