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 Feb. 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
The six West Virginia sites selected to host Hometown Teams and their tentative display dates are:
-- Parkersburg Art Center, Parkersburg, Feb. 1 to March 15;
-- Buck Harless Community Center, Gilbert, March 22 to May 3;
-- Preston County Sports Museum, Rowlesburg, May 11 to June 21;
-- Randolph County Community Arts Center, Elkins, June 29 to Aug. 9
-- Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center, Weirton, Aug. 17 to Sept. 27; and
-- Morgantown History Museum, Morgantown, Oct. 5 to Nov. 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.
The Hometown Teams 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.