Traveling exhibit available

CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Humanities Council will sponsor a state tour of the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit, “Hometown Teams,” beginning February 2014.

The exhibit examines sports’ role in American culture and how hometown sporting events can become cultural touchstones.

The council invites museums, historical societies, historic sites and cultural and community organizations interested in hosting “Hometown Teams” and providing public programs about their local sports culture to submit an application.

“Hometown Teams” includes views of famous stadiums and arenas, audio of athletes discussing local sports traditions and information on mascots, marching bands, cheerleaders, game day traditions, memorabilia, tailgating, player-coach relationships, sports equipment, uniforms, parades, rivalries, pep rallies and athletes who broke race, gender or physical barriers. There also will be a section on the growth of alternative and extreme sports. The exhibit is organized in seven sections and requires 850 square feet of floor space and 8 and 1/2 feet of ceiling height.

Electricity is needed for video monitors and a tablet computer, but the audio components are battery powered.

Through council funding, host organizations will develop companion displays and supplemental programming focusing on their hometown teams. Suggested displays include uniforms, game programs, tickets, equipment, trophies, scheduled, records, team photographs and lectures or films that examine the local sports tradition.

There is no cost to participate in the tour, and program funds will be provided to each site by the council. In addition to program funds, technical assistance and planning and promotion resources will be provided.

Six sites will be selected to participate, and each site will have the exhibit on display for six week. The six selected sites will be announced this spring.

The postmark deadline is March 1.

Interested venues and organizations should contact Humanities Council Program Officer Mark Payne at (304) 346-8500 or to request an application.

The tour is made possible through the Museum on Main Street 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.