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Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Celebrating Sports in American Communities Coming to Main Street Iowa

For more information, contact:

Tina Hoffman 515.725.3150

Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Celebrating Sports in American Communities Coming to Main Street Iowa

April 2, 2017 – (Des Moines) Baseball. Soccer. Hockey. Bowling. Football. 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. As we prepare for the 2017 Opening Day of Major League Baseball, the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s (IEDA) Main Street Iowa (MSI) program in cooperation with local Main Street programs in Ames, Conrad, Guthrie Center, Jefferson, Mount Vernon and Ottumwa will celebrate this connection as it hosts “Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America,” a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program.

The six communities have been expressly chosen by the IEDA to host “Hometown Teams” as part of the Museum on Main Street program—a national/state/local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations. The exhibition will tour the six communities in Iowa from March 17, 2018, through January 1, 2019.

“Hometown Teams” will capture the stories that unfold on the neighborhood fields and courts, and the underdog heroics, larger-than-life legends, fierce rivalries and gut-wrenching defeats. For more than 100 years, sports have reflected the trials and triumphs of the American experience and helped shape national character. Whether it is professional sports or those played on the collegiate or scholastic level, amateur sports or sports played by kids on the local playground, sports are everywhere in America. A short video about the exhibition can be viewed here.

“We are very pleased to be able to bring ‘Hometown Teams’ to Iowa,” said Jim Engle, director of the Iowa Downtown Resource Center. “It allows us the opportunity to explore this fascinating aspect of our own region’s sports history, and we hope it will inspire many to become even more involved in the cultural life of our communities.”

“With this special tour, we are pleased to work with local Main Street organizations in Ames, Conrad, Guthrie Center, Jefferson, Mount Vernon and Ottumwa” said Michael Wagler, state coordinator for the Main Street Iowa program. “The statewide project will bring additional traffic and visitors to Main Street districts, helping to serve as economic development catalysts for the communities in which they are located.”

“Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America” is part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), and IEDA’s Main Street Iowa program and local Main Street Iowa communities. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.

To learn more about Hometown Teams and other Museum on Main Street exhibitions, visit

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 60 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play.  For exhibition description and tour schedules, visit

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Itinerary and Local Community Contact Information:

Mount Vernon
March 17, 2018
April 29, 2018
May 5, 2018
June 17, 2018
Guthrie Center
June 23, 2018
August 5, 2018
August 11, 2018
September 23, 2018
September 29, 2018
November 11, 2018
November 17, 2018
January 1, 2019

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