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Drake Library to host Smithsonian exhibit “Hometown Teams”

The Smithsonian exhibit “Hometown Teams” will be on display at Drake Library from Feburary 15 to April 20. Photo by Andrew Tucker.

Grinnell College has partnered with Drake Community Library and the Smithsonian Institution to bring the traveling exhibit “Hometown Teams” to Grinnell. For lovers of sports, American history, and interactive museums, this Friday, Feb. 15 should be marked down on the calendar.

“Hometown Teams” will be the first Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service exhibition to come to Grinnell this year. Capturing stories about how sports have impacted American popular culture, the exhibit will consist of “seven professionally designed, free-standing displays,” said Sarah Smith, Project Manager for Community Engagement and Enhancement at the College.

The displays will show stories of victory and defeat on both neighborhood and professional fields, and the sports shown go beyond traditional American sports. Surfing, snowboarding and even Quidditch will be displayed to show how newly introduced sports have influenced society. Among the themes shown through the colorful displays will be the emotional connection people make with the sports they watch or play and the intersection of sports and popular culture.

“Whether it is professional sports … amateur sports or sports played by kids on the local playground, sports are everywhere in America,” said Smith.

The exhibition is being brought to Grinnell as a way to honor the College’s commitment to bring together and celebrate diverse perspectives through guest speakers, performances and many other SITES exhibits besides “Hometown Teams.”

Its location in Drake Community Library allows it to be accessible for students, residents, and visitors alike. “We are thrilled to bring ‘Hometown Teams’ to Grinnell,” said 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.”

The exhibit will also allow people who may not be knowledgeable about sports to learn something new.

“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,” said Lesley Wright, director of the Faulconer Gallery at the College. “We are pleased to be working with the local partners to help develop local exhibitions and public programs to complement the Smithsonian exhibition,” Wright said.

The choice to put “Hometown Teams” in Drake Community Library will allow the exhibit to be seen by as many people as possible, but it will also allow residents of and visitors to Grinnell to have access to the Smithsonian’s cultural resources. Marilyn Kennett, the Director of Drake Library, was enthusiastic about what the exhibit will add.

“We don’t have a Smithsonian of our own here in little Grinnell. It really brings that type of experience to our users here. It’s just an added bonus for our library users to engage with history and a quality level exhibit,” said Kennett.

The Smithsonian exhibit “Hometown Teams” will be on display at Drake Library from Feburary 15 to April 20. Photo by Andrew Tucker.
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