Patrick County Chamber of Commerce, Stuart, Virginia
Patrick County - Stuart, Virginia - Blue Ridge Mountains
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Crossroads: Change in Rural America

Crossroads: Change in Rural America offers small towns a chance to look at their own paths to highlight the changes that affected their fortunes over the past century. The exhibition will prompt discussions about what happened when America's rural population became a minority of the country's population and the ripple effects that occurred.

Crossroads: Changes in Rural America is a part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution, Virginia Humanities, and Virginia Association of Museums.

For more information check out the Crossroads: Change in Rural America website
On Exhibit at the Creative Arts Center/Chamber  334 Patrick Avenue, Stuart VA

Exhibit Hours:
Mon-Sat 10am-2pm
Thurs 6pm-8pm
Sun 12pm-4pm
Closed for Christmas 24 & 25
Closed for New Years Jan 1: Go hike with Fairy Stone State Park

**For organizing group tours: contact Sarah Wray at 276-694-7181 x27

Special Events

Changes in Rural America is a subject near and dear to the hearts of Patrick Countians, who have seen agriculture, manufacturing, and service jobs ebb and flow throughout the last 100 years. Many of our local organizations are working to create events and exhibitions that will highlight these changes in our county.

We have a wide range of events scheduled to invite you to learn more about the local culture and heritage and to provide opportunities for visitors to engage with the exhibit. Please review the list below and visit our website for more information on additional events and exhibit hours.

  • Celebrate with Patrick & Henry Community College and the Patrick County Education Foundation as they dedicate their new P&HCC Baliles & Reynolds Learning Center in honor of former Patrick County resident and Virginia Governor, Gerald Balilies. The Patrick County Bookmobile, which he was instrumental in fundraising for will be on site for tours on Dec 7 2pm. on Dec 7 at 2pm. 

  • Revisit “Up and Down these Roads” with the Patrick County Heritage Project at the Historic Star Theatre in Stuart on Dec 11 at 10am or 2pm. A reception at the exhibit next door is scheduled for 12:30pm. In January the group will convene a panel to discuss the 40 years of change that have happened since the documentary was made.

  • Join Blue Ridge Heritage for a presentation on The Chestnut Trade in Southwestern Virginia by Ralph Lutts on Dec 11 at 4pm at the Historic Star Theatre in Stuart.

  • The Patrick County Music Association will welcome Patrick County’s own nationally acclaimed banjoist Sammy Shelor and the Lonesome River Band on Saturday, Dec 11 at the Stuart Rotary Memorial Building. Learn more about the history of the banjo and the importance of the music of the Blue Ridge Mountains in our communities. Doors open at 5pm and music begins at 6pm 

  • Join Dan River Basin Association for a guided hike on the Rock Castle Gorge Fire Road from Rock Church Road to the CC Camp Road parking area to relate a portion of the history of the Rock Castle Gorge Community and to enjoy the beauty of the gorge.  The hike will take place Dec 12 at 1:30pm. 

  • On Dec 12 from 2-5pm experience Victorian Christmas at Rock Spring Plantation with tours of the Reynolds’ family home decked in holiday splendor will be led by docents in period costume. Enjoy hot cider and cookies and the opportunity to create a Victorian inspired Christmas ornament. This event is sponsored by the Reynolds Homestead.

  • Willis Gap Community Center, a Crooked Road site, will host an open jam on Dec 17 and Jan 7 with doors opening at 6pm. Music will run from 7pm until 10pm and all musicians are welcome to join the jam featuring Old Time, Bluegrass, Country, and Gospel music. Food and concessions will be available for purchase and the Appalachian music, fellowship and fun are free!

Enjoy the following supporting collections on display in tandem with the Crossroads exhibit.  

  • Virginia Cooperative Extension will curate a display, Stirring Up Memories, featuring family recipes shared from generation to generation and celebrating the importance of food as a community unifying force. The Patrick County Extension office is planning an exhibit that showcases these treasured Patrick County family recipes, with take-home recipes cards to share with attendees. On display at the Patrick County Chamber of Commerce in Stuart, VA. 

  • A photographic display of Patrick County over the past 100 years will be presented by the Patrick County Historical Society and Museum and will be on display at the Reynolds Homestead in Critz, VA.

  • Engage with the locally designed exhibit Tiny Houses; a reflection of your community curated by Bull Mountain Arts and on display at the Creative Arts Center in Stuart, VA. The exhibit will display tiny houses created by community members who responded to the prompt “what does home or community mean to you?”

  • Visit the Patrick County Library & Bookmobile to check out a display of books and suggested reading materials for youth and adults. Cultural interpretations from artists, authors, and musicians have played an important role in conveying the identity of rural Americans. Whether they tell stories of hard work, struggles and conflicts in rural life, migration, or the joys of living close to nature, these writers have given us indelible impressions of what they believed rural life to be. Select a book and explore these authors' interpretations, from both past and present. 

  • Stroll along the Mayo River Rail Trail and find the storyboard mounted at the caboose, provided by Patrick County Farm Bureau that highlights how the railroad helped local farmers of the early 20th Century in this isolated, rural area, have access to larger commodity markets for their agricultural products.

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