Smithsonian Institution Exhibition Tour
Smithsonian Exhibit on Sports
The West Virginia Humanities Council is sponsoring a state tour of the new Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit Hometown Teams. West Virginia is a debut state for the exhibit beginning February 1, 2014. The exhibit examines the role of sports in American culture - past and present. “Sports are a big part of what we do and who we are. Our love of sports begins in our hometowns. Hometown sports can be more than just games, they can become cultural touchstones with the ability to unite us and shape our values,” according to Robbie Davis, project director with the Smithsonian Institution.
Martinsburg High School fans cheer the Bulldogs on to their third straight
football state championship on December 1, 2012.
(Journal Newspaper photo by Ryan Decker)
The six West Virginia sites selected to host Hometown Teams and their display dates are:
Parkersburg Art Center, Parkersburg
February 1 – March 15
Larry Joe Harless Community Center, Gilbert
March 22 – May 3
Preston County Sports Museum, Rowlesburg
May 11 – June 21
Randolph County Community Arts Center, Elkins
June 29 – August 9
Weirton Area Museum & Cultural Center, Weirton
August 17 – September 27
Morgantown History Museum, Morgantown
October 5 – November 15
Each of the selected sites applied to host the exhibit in response to a request for proposals at the end of 2012. The Humanities Council will provide funding to the sites to develop companion displays and supplemental programs that focus on their hometown teams. Displays might include uniforms, game programs, tickets, equipment, trophies, schedules and records, and team photographs, as well as lectures, films or discussions that examine the local sports tradition. Technical assistance is provided to the display sites by Humanities Council and Smithsonian staff. Marshall University history professor Dr. Kat D. Williams will serve as the scholar for the tour of Hometown Teams in West Virginia.
Hometown Teams will present visitors with perspectives on sports in popular culture, views of famous stadiums and arenas, audio of athletes discussing their local sports traditions, as well as information about mascots, marching bands, cheerleaders, game day traditions, memorabilia, foods and tailgating, player/coach relationships, sports equipment, uniforms, parades, rivalries, pep rallies, and athletes who broke racial, gender or physical barriers in sports. There will also be a section on the growth of alternative and extreme sports.
Hometown Teams is organized into seven sections, interweaving images and text with almost 70 replicated artifacts, video, audio and other interactive elements. It will present perspectives on sports in popular culture, views of famous stadiums and arenas, audio of athletes discussing their local sports traditions, with a look at mascots, marching bands, cheerleaders, game day traditions, memorabilia, foods and tailgating, player/coach relationships, sports equipment, uniforms, parades, rivalries, pep rallies, and athletes who broke racial, gender or physical barriers in sports. There will also be a section on the growth of alternative and extreme sports.
The exhibit requires approximately 850 square feet of floor space plus additional space needed for locally developed exhibit(s). Ceiling height must be at least 8.5 feet tall. Additionally, the exhibit will travel with a tablet computer Electricity is needed for three video monitors and the tablet computer. Audio devices are battery powered. The number and size of exhibit crates is to be determined.
You can visit www.museumonmainstreet.org for additional information on Hometown Teams. The state tour is made possible through the Museum on Main Street (MOMS) program, which is an alliance of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the Federation of State Humanities Councils, state humanities councils across the country, and cultural organizations in small, rural communities.