Planning in the Works for the Semiquincentennial in 2026

Mar 15, 2024

Woman with long brown hair and glasses standing in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Christi Weinzierl, the WSL’s Communication and Grants Specialist, in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

The United States will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the signing and ratification of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 2026–just over two years from right now! Regardless of whether you call this upcoming event the Semiquincentennial, the Sestercentennial, America’s Big 2-5-0, or the Quarter Millennial, it’s a really big deal! Organizations, including libraries, are already planning how they’re going to celebrate this momentous occasion.

In fact, last week, on March 7 and 8, the Federation for State Humanities Councils, a nonprofit who unites the work and voices of our nation’s humanities councils, hosted “Sharing our Stories and Listening to One Another: The Declaration of Independence at 250.” Humanities and library professionals from states and territories across the U.S. gathered in Washington, D.C., to discuss possibilities, ask questions, and share different perspectives on how what is most commonly called the United States Semiquincentennial will look, sound, and feel in various parts of our nation. Christi Weinzierl, the Wyoming State Library’s Communication and Grants Specialist, attended this event, along with Shawn Reese, Executive Director of the Wyoming Humanities Council.

Much of the conversation at the event centered around how libraries could be a place for people to tell their stories, and, just as importantly, listen to others’ stories regarding their experience living in the United States. An analogy was shared stating that it’s our country’s “halftime”, since the 250th anniversary, or semiquincentennial, marks the halfway point between our country’s official beginning and the United States celebrating 500 years of nationhood. (The word “semiquincentennial” literally means “halfway to a 500th anniversary”, as the prefix “semi” means half, “quin” means five, and “centennial” means 100th anniversary.)

Our country’s most recent milestone anniversary was celebrated in the summer of 1976; 2026 seems like a great time to remember where we’ve been, evaluate where we are, and hope and plan for our future.  Planning is in the works for Wyoming libraries to help all of our patrons celebrate the U.S. Semiquincentennial in a meaningful way that fosters connection, growth, and learning from each other, including “all stories, all people, and all places”.

Stay tuned for more information in the coming months about this exciting landmark in American history!

 

If you have a question about this or any other article, please contact us at statelibrary@wyo.gov

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