Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America

Football. Baseball. Hockey. Bowling. Basketball. 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. Six South Carolina communities, in cooperation with SC Humanities, will celebrate this connection as they host Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America, a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program.

Hometown Teams will be on view from February 28 through December 13, 2015. Locations, in order, are Denmark; Gaffney; Belton; Georgetown; Slater; and Manning. See the full exhibit schedule here! Each community has been expressly chosen by SC Humanities to host Hometown Teams as part of the MoMS program, which is a unique national/state/local partnership that brings exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations.

Each Hometown Teams host community will design and implement programming and events that will complement the traveling exhibit and focus specifically on South Carolina sports history and heroes. Host sites are planning a variety of fun, educational events and programs including community tailgates, oral history projects, movie screenings and discussions, lectures with famous local coaches and athletes, and much more. Based on the success of prior traveling exhibits, more than 50,000 South Carolinians are expected to attend the exhibit as it travels from location to location during 2015.

“Allowing our state’s residents to have access to the cultural resources of our nation’s premier museum is a priority of SC Humanities,” said Randy L. Akers, Executive Director. “The goal of SC Humanitiesis to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of our citizens, and Hometown Teams provides a unique opportunity to involve thousands in the cultural life of our communities. With this special tour, we are working with citizen-led committees and institutions throughout our state to develop local exhibitions and public programs to compliment the Smithsonian exhibition.”

Hometown Teams is one of the most visually appealing traveling exhibits created by the museum professionals at the Smithsonian. It includes audio components, video components and many unique interactive features. The exhibit’s photographs, artifacts and memorabilia are presented in a quality, entertaining and educational way that is designed to appeal to visitors of all ages. The MoMS program gives each rural sponsor the opportunity to benefit from the prestige of hosting a Smithsonian traveling exhibition and to build its own high-quality exhibition with professional on-site consultations and a hands-on installation workshop. It provides community organizing committees the opportunity to work together to raise public awareness and celebrate their own unique cultural history.

Hometown Teams has been made possible in South Carolina by SC Humanities. Hometown Teams is part of the Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and State Humanities Councils nationwide. Support for MoMS has been provided by the United States Congress.

In South Carolina, SC Humanities has received additional support for the Hometown Teams project from South State Bank (Georgetown site); The Foothills Community Foundation (Belton site); and The Jolley Foundation (Slater site).

Founded in 1972 through funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, SC Humanities is dedicated to developing a sense of community through educational programs in the humanities for every county of South Carolina. Our mission is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians, accomplished by awarding grants for high quality public programs (i.e. documentaries, reading and discussion programs, museum and library exhibits, lectures and special conferences) and by presenting special humanities initiatives such as the SCBook Festival, annual humanities festivals, the MoMS program and The Governor’s Awards in the Humanities. It is a 501(c)3 organization that is based in Columbia and governed by a 23-member Board of Directors from across the state.

For more information, contact SC Humanities at 803-771-2477.