The Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS), in cooperation with the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, presents “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America.” The exhibition examines the nearly 250-year-old American experiment of a government “of, by and for the people,” and how each generation since continues to question how to form “a more perfect union.” An opening reception will be held at the Monmouth Museum on the campus of Brookdale Community College on August 20, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. “Voices and Votes” will be on view through October 2, 2022.

Guest speakers at the opening are Brookdale Community College President Dr. David M. Stout; Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone; Commissioner Lillian G. Burry; New Jersey Council for the Humanities Director of Strategic Initiatives Valerie Popp; Brookdale Community College Vice President of Academic Affairs and Monmouth Museum Board Member Dr. Matthew Reed; Monmouth Museum Executive Director Erika Schaefer; and Professor of History, Author, and Women’s Historian Jane Scimeca. In addition, there will be a sneak peek of the Suffragist Speak Reenactment by the American Association of University Women (AAUW MNCB).

Brookdale Community College, in collaboration with the Monmouth Museum, was chosen by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities to host “Voices and Votes” as part of the Museum on Main Street program—a national/state/local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations.

“Voices and Votes” explores the action, reaction, vision, and revision that democracy demands as Americans continue to question how to shape the country. From the revolution and suffrage to civil rights and casting ballots, everyone in every community is part of this ever-evolving story—the story of democracy in America. Exhibition sections explore the origins of American democracy, the struggles to obtain and keep the vote, the machinery of democracy, the right to petition and protest beyond the ballot, and the rights and responsibilities of citizens. In addition, “Voices and Votes” has many dynamic features: historical and contemporary photos; educational and archival videos; engaging multimedia interactives with short games; and historical objects like campaign souvenirs, voter memorabilia, and protest material.

“‘Voice and Votes’ allows us to reflect on Monmouth County’s history and explore what it means to be an active participant in the governance of not only the country but also this community,” said President Stout.

Throughout the exhibition, “Voices and Votes” will serve as a community meeting place for conversations about democracy, the freedoms, and responsibilities of citizens, participation in government, and more. In addition, the College will host public programs and facilitate educational initiatives to raise people’s understanding of their history, the joys, and challenges of living rural, how change has impacted our community and prompt discussion of goals for the future.

Free upcoming events include:

September 21, A special  Suffragists Speak Reenactment performance by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Northern Monmouth County Branch (NMCB)
September 27, Brookdale Alumna, Monmouth County YMCA Board Member, and American Friends Service Committee on National Legislation Red Bank, NJ Advocacy Corps Organizer Itzel Perez Hernandez will give a presentation on the political history of DACA and Advanced Parole
September 28, Geraldine Morgan Thompson’s story and her impact on Monmouth County by Jane Scimeca

Furthermore from August 20 – September 18, exhibiting in the Museum’s Nilson Gallery will be Collective Identity by Fair Haven, NJ artist Kathleen Beausoleil.

“Voices and Votes” is based on a major exhibition currently on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History called American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith. Content development for Voices and Votes was led by Harry Rubenstein, Curator Emeritus in the Division of Political History at the National Museum of American History.

The exhibition is part of the Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. To learn more about “Voices and Votes” and other Museum on Main Street exhibitions, visit

The U.S. Congress has provided support for MoMS. In addition, the organizations participating in this exhibition are:

Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science, and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For the exhibition description and tour schedules, visit


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Venue: Monmouth Museum, 765 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft, NJ, parking lot #1, 732-747-2266. Exhibition hours are Tuesday – Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Free admission and open to the public.

N.J. Council for the Humanities, 336 Friends Street, Camden, NJ 08102, Carin Berkowitz, Ph.D. executive director, 609-695-5318,