This Saturday, May 18, the Cheyenne River Youth Project will unveil a very special exhibition in its Čhokáta Wičhóni (Center of Life) Teen Center. Titled “Spark! Places of Innovation,” the traveling exhibition highlights how innovation has shaped small towns across the country; it will be on view at CRYP until Wednesday, June 29.

CRYP was chosen by the South Dakota Humanities Council to host “Spark!” as part of Museum on Main Street, a Smithsonian outreach program that partners with state humanities councils to bring the Smithsonian to small-town America, engaging local audiences and bringing revitalized attention to underserved rural communities. The exhibitions encourage dialogue, build connections, and generate excitement about each community’s unique history and culture.

MoMS has been doing this important work for three decades. Since 1994, MoMS has visited more than 1,900 communities with an average population of 8,000. 

In 2024-25, “Spark!” will tour five communities in South Dakota. After its appearance on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, the exhibition will travel to the Rapid City Public Library, July 6-Aug. 17; the Centennial Stone Church Center in Huron, Aug. 24-Oct. 5; the Dacotah Prairie Museum in Aberdeen, Oct. 12-Jan. 11, 2025; and Sinte Gleska University at the Sicangu Heritage Center in Mission, Jan. 18-Mar. 1, 2025. 

Representatives from these communities will be in Eagle Butte on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 14-15, for a “Spark!” installation workshop at CRYP.

“Spark!” highlights innovation in rural America from the perspective of the people who lived it, using their words, images and experiences gathered from more than 30 communities across the country through an ambitious crowdsourcing initiative. Exhibit visitors will discover the diversity, ingenuity and tenacity of rural communities as they learn about a wide variety of technical, social, cultural and artistic innovations — and how they can tackle the challenges of today with creative solutions for the future.

This multilayered, interactive experience incorporates photographs, objects, videos and augmented reality. It explores the role of creators and inventors in a community, resources available for innovation and invention, the role of self-expression, the importance of being open to change, how to encourage risk-taking, and the role of diversity in sparking innovation.

MoMS is part of Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service / Smithsonian Affiliations (SITES/Affiliations), which strengthens connections between the Smithsonian and museum and cultural organizations — and their communities and audiences everywhere — inspiring a deeper understanding of our world and how it can be changed for the better. 

“Spark!” was inspired by “Places of Invention,” an exhibition developed by the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. To learn more about “Spark!” and other MoMS exhibitions, visit 

To learn more about the Cheyenne River Youth Project and its programs, and for information about making donations and volunteering, call (605) 964-8200 or visit And, to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

The Cheyenne River Youth Project, founded in 1988, is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities that ensure strong, self-sufficient families and communities.