RCAP and the Smithsonian Institution Launch Coming Home: Stories from Main Street program

February 16, 2021 | General RCAP News

Washington, D.C. – The Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) has partnered with the Smithsonian Institution on a new initiative, “Coming Home: Stories from Main Street.” Coming Home is a collaboration between RCAP’s Rural Homecoming program and the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program that aims to incorporate young voices in the future of rural America. Coming Home empowers young people to use stories and digital technologies to learn about their communities, document local history, and foster important discussions about their community’s future, leading to opportunities for local youth to become storytellers on behalf of their community. 

Rural communities can participate in Coming Home in two ways. Communities can celebrate RCAP’s Rural Homecoming to reconnect with their hometown by downloading a free toolkit providing communications and social media toolkits, and event ideas to help tell stories driven by their local communities. 

Communities can also participate in Coming Home by applying to be a Coming Home community through the Museum on Main Street program. Through the competitive process, communities who are selected will work with young people in their community to create video projects focused on telling the community’s stories, past, present and future. 

“This partnership between RCAP and the Smithsonian is a special partnership, one grounded in the belief that young people in rural communities are change makers who are poised to lead their communities,” said Nathan Ohle, RCAP’s CEO. “Coming Home: Stories from Main Street will give students the tools necessary to become storytellers, to highlight the innovation that makes their community special, and to enable them to become leaders now and in the future.” 

For more than 45 years, RCAP has worked with tens of thousands of rural and tribal communities building capacity at the local level and bringing awareness to the innovation and collaboration happening across rural America. The Rural Homecoming program is a free resource for communities that uses activities to reconnect people with their rural hometowns and tell their stories. 

To apply to be a Coming Home community or to download the toolkit, please visit museumonmainstreet.org/cominghome. If you have any questions about the application process, please email Museum on Main Street at moms@si.edu. 


What is Rural Homecoming? RCAP’s Rural Homecoming initiative is a national celebration of rural communities across the country. Rural Homecoming is a time to reaffirm and strengthen connections for those living away from rural hometowns, and to connect young people into the rural communities they call home, and to provide a national platform for local communities to tell their own stories. 

RCAP is a national non-profit network providing opportunity, assistance, and practical guidance to small communities in all fifty states, U.S. territories, and tribal lands to ensure access to safe drinking water, sanitary wastewater disposal, and economic prosperity for all rural America. To learn more about RCAP, visit www.rcap.org

What is Museum on Main Street? MoMS is a signature Smithsonian initiative for rural America, which works with state partners to provide traveling exhibitions, rich humanities programs, and capacity development. Since 1994, MoMS has served more than 1,800 rural towns across every state.