Smithsonian’s 'Voices and Votes: Democracy in America' Exhibit Comes to MCCC Gallery May 18 to June 20


West Windsor, N.J. – In partnership with the New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH), Mercer County Community College (MCCC) will host Voices and Votes: Democracy in America, a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution. The exhibit comes to the MCCC Gallery May 18 to June 20. The Gallery is located on the college’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road, on the second floor of the Communication building.

Gallery hours for the exhibit are: Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Closed on May 28 for Memorial Day weekend.) Dates of note include: open hours on MCCC’s Commencement Day, May 20; Future Voters Day on June 4; and A Tribute to the late New Jersey Assemblyman John Watson on June 17.

The exhibit is presented free to the public and is appropriate for all age groups, including public schools, youth groups, and new voters. More about the exhibit and special programs can be found here

Voices and Votes examines the nearly 250-year-old American experiment of a government “of, by and for the people,” including 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. 

Presented in six stand-alone sections, the exhibit features historical and contemporary photos; educational and archival video; interactive multimedia activities; and historical objects like campaign souvenirs, voter memorabilia, and protest material. The MCCC exhibit will include a Mercer County section of artifacts from the Trenton Public Library’s Trentoniana Collection and a photographic survey of Mercer County monuments and murals.

Says MCCC Professor of Philosophy Ken Howarth, who is organizing Voices and Votes at Mercer in partnership with NJCH, “This exhibit allows us to reflect on what it means to be an active participant in the governance of not only the country, but also this community. Each of us has a voice and a responsibility in this evolving story.”

Howarth encourages people to take advantage of the opportunity to view a major national exhibit right in their backyard. “We want to engage the entire community in a conversation about American democracy. Learning and appreciating this history is as important as ever,” he said.

Group tours may be arranged by appointment. Volunteer opportunities are also available. For more information, email your request to

Among other partners in the MCCC project are the New Jersey League of Women Voters and the Citizens Campaign through the Trenton Civic Trustees.

Voices and Votes is based on an exhibition currently on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History called American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith. MCCC is one of six New Jersey community colleges selected by NJCH to host Voices and Votes. (Complete schedule here.) This exhibit has been made possible by NJCH and is part of the Museum on Main Street series (MoMS), a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the Federation of State Humanities Councils. Support for MoMS has been provided by the United States Congress. To learn more about Voices and other MoMS exhibitions, click here.



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“Bloody Massacre in King Street,” engraving by Paul Revere, 1770. (Courtesy of National Museum of American History)


 “The First Vote,” drawn by A.R. Waud appeared in Harper’s Weekly, November 1867. (Courtesy of Library of Congress)


 National Woman’s Party march for women’s suffrage, Washington, D.C. February 14, 1917. (Photograph, gift of Alice Paul Centennial Foundation, National Museum of American History)