Smithsonian Exhibition Celebrating Sports in Our Communities Opens on Feb. 15

February 04, 2019
Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America

Baseball. Soccer. Hockey. Bowling. Kickball. Surfing. People around the country are drawn to compete in these sports and many others. Still more gather on the sidelines to cheer for their favorite athletes and teams. Nowhere do Americans more intimately connect to sports than in their hometowns.

Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America, a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition, will be on display from Friday, Feb. 15, through Saturday, April 20, at Drake Community Library, 930 Park St., Grinnell.

The exhibition uses photographs, artifacts, and interactive components to capture the stories that unfold on the neighborhood fields and courts, and the underdog heroics, larger-than-life legends, fierce rivalries, and gut-wrenching defeats. For more than 100 years, sports have reflected the trials and triumphs of the American experience and helped shape the national character.

An opening ceremony celebration featuring speakers and ballpark food will take place at the library from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Feb. 15. Grinnell Mayor Dan F. Agnew will be the emcee. Grinnell College President Raynard S. Kington and Grinnell High School Football Coach Brian Sauser will make remarks, starting at 4:45 p.m. During the event, docents will be available to answer questions regarding the exhibition.

Hometown Teams can be seen during the library’s regular hours. The library is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Grinnell, located halfway between Des Moines and Iowa City, is an ideal place to see this historic exhibition, which is free and open to the public. Hometown Teams appeared in six small cities across Iowa before coming to Grinnell – the last stop on a nationwide tour before the exhibition returns to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Grinnell College and local partners, such as Drake Community Library, are sponsoring the exhibition.

Whether it is professional sports or those played on the collegiate or scholastic level, amateur sports or sports played by kids on the local playground, sports are everywhere in America. Hometown Teams features high-quality, interactive displays highlighting boys and girls, women, and men playing soccer, hockey, bowling, baseball, surfing, basketball, and other sports.

Hometown Teams is an example of Grinnell College’s commitment to serving the local community by bringing together and celebrating diverse perspectives through guest lectures, public performances, and a wide array of exhibitions.

“We are thrilled to bring Hometown Teams to Grinnell,” says Monica Chavez-Silva, assistant vice president for community enhancement at the College. “With the support of Drake Community Library, people in the area will have access to a history exhibit of Smithsonian caliber right in our own hometown. We also hope this exhibition will give people from surrounding areas yet another reason to visit Grinnell.”

“Enabling all of Iowa’s residents to have access to the cultural resources of our nation’s premiere museum is a priority for Grinnell College,” adds Lesley Wright, director of the College’s Faulconer Gallery. “We are pleased to be working with the local partners to help develop local exhibitions and public programs to complement the Smithsonian exhibition.”

Please check the Drake Community Library calendar in February for a listing of local focused programs and events. 

Hometown Teams is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and State Humanities Councils nationwide. The U.S. Congress has provided support for Museum on Main Street.

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 60 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work, and play.

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