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Humanities Council looking for applications

December 27, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

CHARLESTON - The West Virginia Humanities Council is sponsoring a special West Virginia tour of the new Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition "Hometown Teams," beginning February 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, according to organizers. Our love of sports begins in our hometowns. If we are not playing, we are watching from the stands, on the fields or with friends in front of the television.

Hometown sports can be more than just games, they can become cultural touchstones with the ability to unite and shape our values.

The Humanities Council is inviting applications from museums, historical societies, historic sites and cultural and community organizations interested in hosting "Hometown Teams," and providing public programs about their local sports culture.

There is no charge for selected venues to participate in the tour and program funds will be provided to each site by the Humanities Council. The postmark deadline for applications in March 1. The six selected sites will be announced in the spring of 2013. The exhibit is available only through the West Virginia Humanities Council.

Six sites will be selected from the submitted applications to participate in the West Virginia tour of the exhibit. Each site will have the exhibit on display for six weeks. In addition to program funds, technical assistance and resources to support planning and promotion will be provided to each community by the Humanities Council.

"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 also will be a section on the growth of alternative and extreme sports.

The exhibit is organized in seven sections and requires approximately 850 square feet of floor space and 8.5 feet of ceiling height. Electricity is needed for video monitors and a tablet computer but audio components are battery operated.

With funding provided by the Humanities Council, host communities will develop companion displays and supplemental programs that focus on their hometown teams past and present. Displays might include uniforms, game programs, tickets, equipment, trophies, schedules, records and team photographs, along with lectures, films or discussions that examine the local sports tradition.

Interested venues are invited to contact Humanities Council Program Officer Mark Payne at (304) 346-8500 or to request a "Hometown Teams" application.

The "Hometown Teams" 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.

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