Wednesday, February 17, 2010



By Maureen Soso

Where are you from? How did you get here? Why did you come here? These are just a few questions the Buchanan Center for the Arts is trying to help the community answer through its newest exhibit "Journey Stories." The traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institute features several journey stories of those coming to America and what they did upon arrival.

However, the most exciting part of the exhibit comes from those in the Warren County area. The Buchanan Center put together its own collection of local history and - thanks to generous citizens - historical artifacts dating back to early Native American times. Susan Twomey, the Director of the Buchanan Arts Center says the exhibit is helping break some classic Hollywood portrayals of different ethnic groups throughout time. The exhibit is not only trying to explain the communities within Warren County, but also why some us are here.

The local stories include photography and memorabilia showing the 1920s arrival of hundreds of Hispanic families that worked on the railroad, lived in "boxcar camps, and helped build the cities and towns that make up Warren County."This is about making connections, especially for the Hispanic community. It makes them a part of the community instead of "them" over "there." Twomey hopes to give credit to the different groups of people who really helped develop Warren County. "I chose to tell stories, not just spark interest, but spark discussion and pride...I want to remind people to take care of their heritage."

Early indications are that Twomey has succeeded in sparking interest within the community. The exhibit is getting 50 to 100 visitors a day, which is unusual for a local exhibit. If you have not gotten a chance to visit "Journey Stories" it will be available until March 14, 2010.

The Buchanan Center for the Arts is located at 64 Public Square. Open Tuesday through Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday 10-2.

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