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Volunteers sought to help plan Hometown Teams Exhibit in Quad Cities

This article orginally appeared in The Dispatch/Argus – Quad Cities

“Hometown Teams” will visit Rock Island Public Library in September 2014 

Rock Island, IL-— The Rock Island Public Library has been selected as one of six locations in Illinois to host a 2014 Smithsonian traveling exhibit, Hometown Teams, and is seeking community volunteers to assist with the effort.

Hometown Teams is a brand new exhibit from the Smithsonian that reveals how sports shapes our culture, exploring the enduring connection between towns and the teams that play there. Illinois is one of six states chosen to premiere the exhibit. Besides Rock Island, the traveling exhibit will also visit Cobden, Mattoon, Nokomis, Waterloo, and Nauvoo, IL.

The Rock Island Library will host a public brainstorming meeting on the Hometown Teams project from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Tuesday, Dec. 3 in the second floor Community Room of the Rock Island Main Library, 401 19th Street. The meeting is open to anyone with an interest in planning and implementing the project. For more information, or to get involved on a committee. please visit or call Project Coordinator Lisa Lockheart at 309-732-7303.

Opening in September 2014, Hometown Teams will capture the inextricable connection between towns and their teams. The exhibit will feature artifacts, stories, and special events that will provide audiences a chance to explore how historic upsets, championship runs, rivalries, traditions, individuals and teams can leave an indelible mark on a community. An exhibition national in theme and local in scope, the local history and sports heritage of Rock Island County will also be featured prominently.

As part of hosting the exhibit, the library will tell the stories of hometown teams from Rock Island and surrounding Illinois communities, both through local exhibits and free public programs. From the building of Douglas Park, which hosted Rock Island Islanders semi-pro baseball, the Rock Island Independents professional football team, and numerous world fast-pitch tournaments, to the beginnings of the NBA at Moline’s Wharton Field House, and the glories of high school sports in Rock Island and Moline, sports is part of the fabric of the Quad Cities area.

Hometown Teams is part of the Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program, a partnership between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC). MoMS brings Smithsonian-quality exhibitions to local museums, historical societies, libraries, and community centers around the country and state of Illinois. Each exhibit celebrates and explores the local heritage within the context of a broad national theme. Recent exhibits to have toured Illinois have included Journey Stories and The Way We Worked.

“Illinois has such a rich history when it comes to sports and many of the stories originate from smaller areas,” mentioned Mallory Laurel, the IHC’s lead coordinator of the Museum on Main Street program. “This exhibit will bring to light the small yet significant stories that together tell a greater story about Illinois and the Midwest”. Mallory and IHC staff will work closely with the Rock Island Public Library throughout 2013, bringing to life the exhibition, events and educational initiatives that will honor the area’s local heritage.

“This exhibit provides us with the opportunity to tell so many community stories,” added Lisa Lockheart, publicity and outreach liaison for Rock Island Public Library. “Our challenge will be finding time and space to tell even a fraction of the ways our Hometown Teams have affected life in Rock Island County. We’re particularly excited by the fact that the exhibit will include multiple ways for attendees to reflect upon and share their own stories.”

The project also provides a number of opportunities for the library to partner with other community organizations and businesses, such as the Quad City Convention and Visitors Bureau, Quad City Sports Commission, Heritage Documentaries, Inc., historic societies, other libraries, area sports clubs, and others, noted Lockheart.

A portion of the “Spirit of the Game” interactive in the Rock Island exhibit will contain footage of the Rock Island High School marching band, thanks to support from Mickle Communications and the Rock Island High School marching band.

Hometown Teams will take place from Sept. 13 to Oct. 26, 2014 in Rock Island, IL at the Rock Island Main Library, 401 19th Street. The exhibit will be free and open to all audiences.

Founded in 1872, the Rock Island Public Library serves the area through the three Main, 30/31 and Southwest Branches, community outreach efforts, and online opportunities that provide resources to enhance personal achievement and stimulate the imagination.

About the Illinois Humanities Council
The Illinois Humanities Council is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. The IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.