"Hometown Teams" Smithsonian Exhibit Visits Wrather Museum

Oct 1, 2018

Hometown sports are more than just games -- they shape our lives and unite us, celebrating who we are as Americans. The essential qualities of sports -- competition, fair play, and the zeal to win -- embody the American spirit. Wrather Museum will be celebrating that spirit with their featured Smithsonian traveling exhibit, Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America, this fall. The director of Special Collections and Exhibits at MSU University Libraries visits Sounds Good to discuss the showcase. 

Our love of sports begins in our hometowns. We play them on ball fields and sandlots, on courts and on ice, in parks and playgrounds, even in the street. From pick-up games to organized leagues, millions of Americans of all ages play sports. If we're not playing sports, we're watching them. We sit in the stands and root for the local high school team, or gather on the sideline and cheer on our sons and daughters as they take their first swing or score their first goal. 

Dr. Sean J. McLaughlin, Director of Special Collections and Exhibits at MSU, visited Sounds Good to discuss the exhibit and share some of the memorabilia museum-goers can expect to find. The top two floors of Wrather Museum will be completely dedicated to this exhibit, which includes relics dating back to the 1920s. 

There are several facets to the exhibit, including tactile displays, audio components, iPad features, and memorabilia and artifacts from a wide scope of sports and athletes. A Smithsonian room will be dedicated to artifacts from world famous players, including the 1957 baseball cap of Milwaukee Braves' Robert Dale "Hawk" Taylor and a gifted ball autographed by New York Yankees' Joe DiMaggio. Another room, the Racer Room, will feature memorabilia from Murray State athletes throughout the years.  A pioneers panel will also take place at the exhibit, with guest speakers including Dennis Jackson, the first African American athlete to play at Murray State University, and Margaret Simmons, the founder of the MSU women's track program. 

Hometown Teams demonstrates how our hometown sports energize the community, instill pride in it, and create a bond that is passed from one generation to the next. High school football and basketball games generate hometown passion and loyalty. Little League baseball games teach youngsters fundamentals of fair play. Adult softball and bowling leagues keep us connected to the games we enjoyed in our youth. On a broader level, university and professional teams stir our support and make lifelong, dedicated fans out of many of us.

The traveling exhibit will be at Wrather Museum on Murray State University's main campus from October 6th to November 10th. An exhibit opening party, featuring sports related games and activities for all ages, an ice cream truck, BBQ, and door prizes from local businesses, will be held on the quad on Saturday, October 6th. 

For more information on the Wrather Museum's showcase of Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America and related events, visit the Wrather Museum Facebook page.