ELKINS – America’s love for sports – on the national, state and hometown levels – is the focus of a new traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibition opening this weekend in Elkins.
“Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America,” will debut Sunday with an open house from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Randolph County Community Arts Center in Elkins.
This is the fourth Smithsonian exhibit the center has hosted in recent years. RCCAC Board President Doreen Hall said she is excited for folks to see the display.
“This exhibit will appeal to a totally different group of folks than our previous Smithsonian exhibits,” Hall said. “The display is wonderful and we have added fabulous local history as well as current sports information. We have items dating back to the early 1900s, with lots of memorabilia and fun facts.”
Hall said there is information in the exhibit to surprise and delight local residents, noting she was surprised to find there was once a baseball team in Glady.
“The board is very excited for this exhibit,” Hall said. “We are very thankful for the expertise from local residents, including Rob Whetsell, Lisa Armstrong, Mary Ann DeLuca, Debbie Larkin, Dave Crawford, Jeff Triplett, Chad Ware, Ron LaNeve and Greg Hott.”
West Virginia is a debut state for the exhibit, that will be on display at the RCCAC in Elkins through Aug. 9. The West Virginia Humanities Council is sponsoring the state tour of “Hometown Teams.”
“We are grateful to the West Virginia Humanities Council for giving us this opportunity to feature ‘Hometown Teams,'” RCCAC Executive Director Kurt Barkley said. “We hope everyone will come out to share in the opening Sunday and stop in to visit the exhibit while it is at the Center.”
Hall said the display space in the RCCAC’s Maxwell Gallery will feature photos of women in sports through Title 9 as an added attraction. She said the Arts Center will also host speakers along with the displays.
“At noon on Monday, we will have presenters from West Virginia University,” Hall said. “The panel discussion will feature Dr. Dana Brooks as moderator.”
“Hometown Teams” interweaves images and text with almost 70 artifacts, video, audio and other interactive elements that present perspectives on sports in popular culture, as well as local sports traditions. It offers information about mascots, marching bands, cheerleaders, game day traditions, tailgating, player/coach relationships, sports equipment, stadiums, rivalries, and athletes who broke racial, gender or physical barriers in sports. The growth of alternative and extreme sports also is explored.
The exhibit is free and open to the public. Hours are Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Hometown Teams is made possible through the Museum on Main Street (MOMS) program, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and state humanities councils nationwide. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the U.S. Congress.