Hometown Teams Cornell 1947 Wrestling Team

Smithsonian’s ‘Hometown Teams’ coming to MV

Every hometown team has its heroes.

A traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program coming to Mount Vernon in March and April 2018 on the first of a six-stop Iowa tour celebrates these local sport heroes within the larger context of the many roles athletics play in towns, cities, and states across the country.

Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group (CDG) in partnership with the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Main Street Iowa program will celebrate this connection when it brings “Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America,”  to Mount Vernon from March 18 to April 29, 2018. “Hometown Teams,” which will be complemented by exhibits featuring local legacies, examines how and why hometown sports are more than just games. They shape and unite us. From pick-up games to organized leagues, millions of Americans of all ages play sports. And, if we’re not playing sports, we’re sitting in the stands or gathered on the sidelines cheering as young athletes take their first swing or score their first goal. Let’s not forget, either, the tireless souvenir sales people and those slinging hamburgers and popcorn at concession stands. 


“The Smithsonian has not been to Iowa with this program for years and their first journey back to Iowa will start in our little town,” said Joe Jennison, director of the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group. “It’s going to be huge for Mount Vernon. We have been working for two years on this project and many of us had to keep it a secret for so long and now we get to share it with the world.”

“Hometown Teams” as well as the local exhibits featuring memorabilia from Eastern Iowa communities will be on display at the First Street Community Center,  221 First St. NE. The exhibit will be free.

Following Mount Vernon the exhibit travels to Ottumwa, Guthrie Center, Jefferson, Ames and Conrad. Nationally, support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.

A complete list of events associated with the exhibit are listed here:

Check out these amazing videos created by Mount Vernon High School students specifically for the exhibit!

Student Stars

Logan Kelly: Champion Student Archer
Drew Adams: Touchdown King
Tristan Wirfs: Mount Vernon Mustang to University of Iowa Hawkeye

Coaches and Champions

Jeff Meeker: Cornell College’s Winningest Volleyball Coach
Shirley Ryan: Mount Vernon Volleyball Coach
An Iowa Tradition: 6-on-6 Women’s Basketball
Vance Light: Mount Vernon Wrestling Coach
An Unforgettable Season: 2012 State Champions in Boys Basketball

[photo: Cornell College’s 1947 national championship wrestling team line up in a dual meet against Michigan State. Cornell won, 24-6.]


Hometown Teams will be free to view and the Smithsonian provides the exhibit at no cost to the host committees. Still, putting on an event of this nature comes with costs. The organizing committee has set a fundraising goal of $25,000.


Support the exhibit with a donation through the online fundraising campaign. A portion of all proceeds from the custom-designed Home Team (Go Us!) apparel (at left), available in multiple styles, go to the Smithsonian exhibit.