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Smithsonian Exhibition: Voices and Votes: Democracy in America

The recent coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is affecting us all in many different ways. We appreciate the complexity of its impact, and Arizona Humanities respects the need to prioritize public health, safety and welfare.
Out of an abundance of caution we have decided to postpone the Camp Verde Opening of Voices and Votes: Democracy in America, previously scheduled for Saturday, March 28. The Camp Verde opening will now occur in January 2021, day to be determined.

The Smithsonian is Coming to Arizona!

Voices and Votes: Democracy in America 2020
Announcing Host Sites for Voices and Votes: Democracy in America

Arizona Humanities is pleased to announce the five sites selected to host Voices and Votes: Democracy in America, a traveling exhibition by the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street Program. 

Prescott Public Library

– June 20, 2020 – July 26, 2020

Mohave Community College – Lake Havasu City Campus

August 8, 2020 – September 20, 2020

Tubac Center of the Arts

– October 3, 2020 – November 15, 2020

Arizona Capitol Museum

– November 28, 2020 – January 10, 2021

In addition to hosting the exhibition, each community will present complementary programming including exhibitions highlighting local artists.

About the Exhibition

When American revolutionaries waged a war for independence they took a leap of faith that sent ripple effects across generations. They embraced a radical idea of establishing a government that entrusted the power of the nation not in a monarchy, but in its citizens. That great leap sparked questions that continue to impact Americans: who has the right to vote, what are the freedoms and responsibilities of citizens, and whose voices will be heard? Voices and Votes will be a springboard for discussions about those very questions and how they are reflected in local stories.

Designed for small-town museums, libraries and cultural organizations, Voices and Votes: Democracy in America will serve a community meeting place to convene conversations about what it means to be a citizen and examine the context and main controversies behind America’s democratic system. Towns will develop complementary exhibits, host public programs, and facilitate educational initiatives to deepen people’s understanding our nation’s democratic system.


Chris Wells, Programs Manager
(602) 257 0335

Samantha Anderson, Grants Manager
(602) 257 0335

Exhibition Content

The exhibition will explore historic events and pose questions for today in the following content areas:

  • The Great Leap: Examine the context and main controversies behind America’s democratic system. Learn the stories of our famous founders and those who remain mostly unknown. What were the principles and events that inspired the writers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? Just how revolutionary was our new democracy led by the people? And who were “the people?”
  • A Vote, A Voice: We have a diverse body of voters today, but not every American has always had the right to vote. The fight for fair representation, suffrage, and a voice at the polls has meant struggle and changes to law ever since our founding. Learn about these struggles, how voting was expanded, and continued challenges to getting the vote.
  • The Machinery of Democracy: We participate in the political system through state and national parties, nomination conventions, and stomping for our candidate of choice. Learn about this machinery of democracy, how it calls us to be involved, but can also control how we get information about candidates and issues.
  • Beyond the Ballot: Americans fight against injustice. Men and women of every ethnicity, class, and state have shared in the revolutionary spirit of rising up and speaking out. The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees this right to peaceably assembly and petition the government. See the different places and different motivations of diverse Americans to petition for their interests and concerns.
  • Creating Citizens: Who are “We the People?” What is the meaning of citizenship? Ever since the creation of the Constitution, Americans continue to interpret, expand, and shape the rights and responsibilities of being a citizen. Explore how those views of rights and responsibilities have shaped our national identity and our complex national story.

Exhibition Schedule

When will Voices and Votes be in Arizona?

Town of Camp Verde Community Library

March 28, 2020 – May 10, 2020

 Prescott Public Library 

May 23, 2020 – July 5, 2020 

Mohave Community College – Lake Havasu City Campus

August 8, 2020 – September 20, 2020

Tubac Center of the Arts

October 3, 2020 – November 15, 2020

 Arizona Capitol Museum

November 28, 2020 – January 10, 2021

State Scholar for Voices and Votes

Dr. Thomas J. Davis is an historian, lawyer, and professor emeritus at Arizona State University, Tempe, where he taught U.S. constitutional and legal history. He also taught as a visiting professor of law at the ASU College of Law. Davis received his PhD in U.S. history from Columbia University in the City of New York, and his JD cum laude from New York’s University at Buffalo School of Law. Among his more than 50 scholarly articles and books, is Plessy v. Ferguson (2012), a volume in ABC-CLIO’s Landmarks of the American Mosaic series.


For procedural questions about the online application, administrative management, financial matters, and partnerships, please contact Arizona Humanities staff at info@azhumanities.org or 602-257-0335.

For questions about interpretive content, history, and local story ideas, please contact Dr. Thomas J. Davis at tjdavis@asu.edu

Water/Ways has been made possible in Arizona by Arizona Humanities


Water/Ways is part of the Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and state humanities councils. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress. Learn more at www.museumonmainstreet.org(Note: Link will take you away from the Arizona Humanities website.)