Bryan-Bennett Library

Voices and Votes: Aug. 28-Oct.2

Through October 2

Voices and Votes: Democracy in America

Concert September 16

Illinois Arts Council musician Phil Passens will be in concert at Bryan-Bennett Library on Thursday, September 16, at 6 p.m. This concert is part of the events associated with the Voices and Votes combined exhibition at the Library.

Mr. Passens will be performing "March of the Women: Music for the 100th Anniversary of Suffrage." He plays the hammered dulcimer and sings. Passens' style involves traditional American and Celtic music. The concert is open to the public. No admission fee will be charged. For more information, contact Bryan-Bennett Library at 548-3006 ext. 2

About the Exhibit

Bryan-Bennett Library is one of six sites in Illinois chosen to host a traveling exhibit entitled "Voices and Votes: Democracy in America." The exhibit is now on display in the newly redecorated Exhibited Hall at Bryan-Bennett Library. The exhibit closes October, 2, 2021. 

This Museum on Main Street exhibition will enable visitors to have a Smithsonian quality experience without traveling to Washington, D. C. as this exhibit is based on a current display at the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of American History entitled: "American Democracy: a Great Leap of Faith."

A brief outline of the five sections of the Exhibit:

The Great Leap

A Vote, a Voice

The Machinery of Democracy

Beyond the Ballot

Creating Citizens

Two Storywalks will be available for families to visit  through Friday, October 1.

  • Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles will be the featured book on the walking path in Bryan Memorial Park. Parking is available at the beginning of the trail near the intersection of College and Boone.
  • The Voice That Won the Vote will be the featured book at Bryan-Bennett Library. Park in the North parking lot. The ending is by the rose bushes.

The exhibit will be open to the public during these hours:

  • Monday through Thursday, from noon to 7 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Special tours will be available during other hours by appointment. To schedule a tour, call 548-3006 ext. 2. Or, contact the Library Director at

Companion exhibits and activities focus on:

  • William Jennings Bryan
    • Exhibit produced by the City of Salem Historical Commission. Displays will provide insight in to the Salem native who rose to national leadership as Secretary of State for President Woodrow Wilson. This exhibit is an extension of the newly opened Salem Area Historical Museum.
  • Local history, with an emphasis on several state and national leaders who have Marion County roots.

The Illinois Freedom Project

There is also be an exhibit coordinated through Illinois Humanities and hosted by the Marion County Genealogical and Historical Society. The Illinois Freedom Project looks at the people, places, and events of Illinois from the 18th through early 20th centuries that wrote the history of slavery, in justice, adversity, and ultimately freedom.

The exhibits are appearing at Bryan-Bennett Library through a competitive selection process coordinated by Illinois Humanities.