Hometown Teams opens Aug. 25

Muhlenberg County Public Libraries is excited to announce a special upcoming exhibit at their Thistle Cottage branch.

Thistle Cottage, a historic house museum owned and operated by the library system, will host the Smithsonian Institution-created Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America exhibit August 25 through September 29, 2018.

Hometown Teams is one of the Smithsonian’s traveling “Museum on Main Street” exhibits provided to Kentucky’s small museums and libraries through a partnership with Kentucky Humanities. The exhibit focuses on the impact that sports can have on communities at every level, from youth sports and school teams up to beloved professional squads.

The exhibit also includes a local component. Each host site is asked to prepare a display of local sports memorabilia to be included with the Smithsonian exhibit.

Exhibit coordinator Amie Waltrip said those pieces are some of the most exciting in the exhibit because of their local connection. “We have some great items in our own collection that we’ve pulled out for the exhibit, but there are also plenty of other people who have loaned us great pieces that should and will be featured,” she said.

Waltrip said memorabilia to be displayed includes jerseys, trophies, photos and more from school and community sporting events dating back to the early 1900s.

“Of course, the whole exhibit is exciting,” Waltrip said. “As far as we know, this is the first time a Smithsonian exhibit will be available here in our own county.”

Library director Janet Harris added, “The fact that it’s a Smithsonian exhibit says a lot. You know it’s a really high-quality exhibit that will appeal to a lot of people when it’s coming from such a well-known, respected organization.”

Muhlenberg County is one of only a few counties in the western part of the state to receive the Hometown Teams exhibit. The exhibit visited Todd County last fall and will travel to Murray after it leaves Muhlenberg County in late September.

The Hometown Teams exhibit at Thistle Cottage opens on August 25. The exhibit opening will be celebrated with a ribbon cutting and open house at Thistle Cottage from 2 to 4 p.m., followed by Muhlenberg County’s annual Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony and banquet at Second Baptist Church at 5 p.m. The library collaborated with the Hall of Fame committee to make sure the county’s notable athletes would be included and honored with the Hometown Teams exhibit. The 2018 Hall of Fame inductees will be present to cut the ribbon to open the exhibit, and all inductees will be featured in the exhibit and are encouraged to attend the open house.

The public is invited to attend the open house, as well. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Harris said. “We have the ability to honor our own as part of a Smithsonian exhibit.”

“We don’t want anyone to miss their chance to see this.”

The library is also planning several sports-related programs in August and September in conjunction with the exhibit. Special programs begin Aug. 23 with a Kentucky Chautauqua presentation of “Adolph Rupp: The Coach” at 7 p.m. at the Central City library. Other programs include:

  • Family Movie Night – Aug. 30 at 5 p.m. at the Central City library featuring a sports-related movie
  • Kentucky Chautauqua’s “Roscoe Tarleton Goose: Kentucky Derby Winner” – Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. at Thistle Cottage
  • “Nostalgia Night” – Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. at Thistle Cottage; local sports enthusiasts are encouraged to gather and share their own stories and memories of local sporting events
  • Tommy Eades presentation – Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. at the Central City Convention Center featuring former local athlete and current NCAA basketball official Tommy Eades
  • Family Movie Night – Sept. 27 at 5 p.m. at the Central City library featuring a sports-related movie

All programs are free and open to the public. For more information about the exhibit or related programming, contact Muhlenberg County Public Libraries at 270-338-4760.

Hometown Teams has been made possible at Muhlenberg County Public Libraries by Kentucky Humanities with additional support from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

Hometown Teams is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and state Humanities Councils nationwide. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.