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.”
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.
[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.
We need your help telling the story of your community’s sports legacy and heritage. Fill out the online application to share with us how sports have influenced and shaped your community to help us select local stories for inclusion in the exhibit. Our goal is to assemble a diverse exhibit that shares a variety of local hometown teams and memorabilia. Space will be limited in the exhibit so unfortunately not all applications can be accepted. Applications will only be reviewed from school districts in Benton, Buchanan, Cedar, Delaware, Iowa, Johnson, Jones and Linn counties.