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Next Stop for the Smithsonian Exhibition “Voices and Votes”: Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site

May 06, 2024 4:46 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

Voices and Votes: Democracy in America will be on view at Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site from May 18 through June 29

The New York State tour of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service Museum on Main Street Program Voices and Votes: Democracy in America exhibition will travel to Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site. The site interprets the War of 1812 story through its mid-19th-century Navy Yard as an internationally recognized War of 1812 battleground. The exhibition will be on view at the historic Union Hotel building. Sackets Harbor is one of twelve museums that will host Voices and Votes for six weeks each through January 2026, offering museum visitors across New York State a unique cultural experience.

MANY is the statewide organizer for the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service’s Museum on Main Street Program, which previously brought the “Water/Ways” exhibition to six New York Museums in 2019. The Museum on Main Street program offers traveling exhibitions, educational resources, and programming across America to communities through local museums, historical societies, and other cultural venues. 

“We are thrilled to have Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site as the second stop of the New York State tour of the Voices and Votes exhibition,” said Megan Eves, MANY Assistant Director for Programs & Communications and Project Director. “As New York State Parks and Historic Sites celebrate their centennial this year, historic sites across New York are searching for ways to engage their local communities with connections to our nation’s history, especially at Sackets Harbor, an important site during America’s Second War for Independence.” 

“The Sackets Harbor Battlefield, together with its partner organization, Hay Memorial Library, is proud and excited to serve as the only site in the North Country region to host this exceptional exhibit,” said Constance Barone, the Battlefield’s site manager. “The exhibition coincides with New York State Parks Centennial Celebration, amplifying the Bureau of Historic Sites mission and Guiding Principles,” she added.

Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic site staff began installation of the local exhibit component for the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibit “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America.”

Voices and Votes will serve as a community meeting place for conversations about democracy, the freedoms, and responsibilities of citizens, participating in government, and more. 

A series of local exhibition-related programming and free events include an OurStoryBridge oral histories gathering project, a lecture by guest historian Dr. Melissane Schrems, Humanities NY Reading and Discussion Series and Community Conversation and music program, and National Trails Day StoryWalk. 

Supporting this traveling exhibition are Sackets Harbor and North Country local stories. “The local components of the exhibit complement the broader historical narratives of Voices and Votes, connecting North Country people, our local history, and our place in history,” says Library Board President Christine Eggleston. “Programs and discussions weave together stories of civic commitment, cultural heritage, and the rich history in our own backyard.” 

Adapted from American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faithcurrently on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Voices and Votes includes historical and contemporary photographs; educational and archival video; engaging multimedia interactives; and historical objects like campaign souvenirs, voter memorabilia, and protest material. 

Each museum will display the Smithsonian exhibition and produce an exhibition drawn from their own collection that relates to their community’s role in the development and advancement of democracy in America. Smithsonian resources available to the twelve museums include digital learning curricula and communication tools. MANY staff is organizing the exhibition travel, and will help each museum plan, implement, and evaluate the exhibitions and interpretive programs.  

MANY was awarded $494,284 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support humanities discussion program series “A New Agora for New York: Museums as Spaces for Democracy” produced in partnership with Humanities New York. The series will use Voices and Votes as a launching point to support the work of the twelve museums and their communities to explore, reflect on, and tell the story of their role in the evolution of American Democracy. 

“The Voices and Votes exhibition and “A New Agora for New York: Museums as Spaces for Democracy” humanities discussion programs will create spaces in museums in which communities can learn together and participate in humanities discussions grounded in texts and objects of material culture,” said Eves.

This tour is supported by a Market New York grant awarded to the Museum Association of New York by Empire State Development and I LOVE NY/New York State's Division of Tourism through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. 

Additional funding from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation supports public events, community exhibitions, free public lectures, workshops for teachers, and community discussion programs. 

Learn more about the New York State tour of the Voices and Votes exhibition: and preview the full schedule of programming and events happening at Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site.

Voices and Votes is a Museum on Main Street (MoMS) exhibition developed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. It’s based on an exhibition by the National Museum of American History. It has been made possible in New York State by the Museum Association of New York. Support for MoMS in New York State has been provided by the United States Congress and the William G. Pomeroy Foundation. 

“A New Agora for New York: Museums as Spaces for Democracy” humanities discussion programs are made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

About Sackets Harbor Battlefield New York State Historic Site and Hay Memorial Library

Sackets Harbor’s strategic location on the eastern end of Lake Ontario made it the only possible site for the American military command during “The Second War for Independence.” This natural harbor became a hub of activity for shipbuilding and the war effort. Today, the Sackets Harbor Battlefield is recognized by the National Park Service as one of the ‘top War of 1812 sites’ in the nation due to its remarkable integrity. Educational programming, living history, environmental and historic structures stewardship make this site a North Country destination.

Hay Memorial Library, located in the historic Village of Sackets Harbor, is a full-service, modern library providing creative, educational programs and onsite collection services to our community and the surrounding township. The library is delighted to be a program partner for the exhibit, and encourages visitors to explore, collaborate, gather, and connect with the programs and community. Visit the library on Facebook, Instagram, and at

For additional exhibits, trails, and programs in the community, visit:

  • Pickering Beach Museum 
  • The Sackets Harbor Visitor Center
  • The Old Stone Chapel (a Sackets Harbor Historical Society preservation site)
  • War of 1812 Bicentennial Trail

The Museum Association of New York helps shape a better future for museums and museum professionals by uplifting best practices and building organizational capacity through advocacy, training, and networking opportunities.

Museum Association of New York is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization. 

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