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UPDATE: Sports Exhibit Opens at Parkersburg Art Center

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UPDATE 2/13/2014 11:19 AM

History and nostalgia collide at a new exhibit -- "Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America" debuts at the Parkersburg Art Center.

"We have pictures dating back as far as 1902 enlarged up on the walls and of course, all the Smithsonian pieces are very exciting,” says Executive Director Abby Hayhurst. “They don't deal obviously with the local aspect of sports in the community but they talk about the global aspect of sports."

There are 1700 pieces designed to show just how far reaching the influence of sports is on our lives, and right here at home.

"They're great and we love having 'em; it is very exciting. It's exciting to watch people come in and see their grandfather, their grandmother, or their uncle or their aunt, or their sister or their brother or whomever is pictured in one of these pictures,” Hayhurst says.

The first thing people notice is how different the uniforms were by current standards and it's like taking a trip back in time.

"They're like, 'whoa, they played in that?' You know, 'where are their helmets, where are their pads?'” Hayhurst says. 'They played, they wore those pants... eww.' You know, there's a certain amount of ha, ha about that. But then I think that they're really proud and they're kind of excited when they see that such and such, so and so team in 1907 won a state championship."

Winning teams have a strong sense of camaraderie that helps members read each other's signals and watch each other's backs.

According to Hayhurst, it's important for young people to see what can be accomplished through effort.

“And of course, that's what we do here with the arts,” she says. “The harder you work, the better you get and it's the same with sports. So it's a great big metaphor and it's pretty cool too."

The exhibit runs through March 15th in Parkersburg and then goes to five other communities around the state.
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UPDATE 2/11/2014 5:10 PM

History and nostalgia collide as a new exhibit shows how important sports teams are to cities in America and right here at home.

"Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America" kicked off at the Parkersburg Art Center on Sunday and runs through March 15th.

Executive Director Abby Hayhurst says it's very exciting when people come in and see their grandfather or grandmother, uncle or aunt, sister, brother or whomever is pictured in one of the photos.

"We have pictures dating back as far as 1902 enlarged up on the walls and of course, all the Smithsonian pieces are very exciting," she says. "They don't deal obviously with the local aspect of sports in the community but they talk about the global aspect of sports and how important they are to communities. So, gosh yes, it's exciting."

Once people get over the initial fun of seeing the uniforms from back in the day, Hayhurst says they are so proud their hometown team won a state championship in 1907 (or another year) and are represented there.


UPDATE 1/29/2014 5:05 PM

A new exhibit focused on local sports culture is kicking off right here in the Mountain State, courtesy of The West Virginia Humanities Council.

Hometown Teams, 'How Sports Shape America' by Museum on Main Street, brings the Smithsonian to small towns across America.

The Parkersburg Art Center will have the exhibit from February 9th to March 15th.

Project Director Robbie Davis says it gets people thinking how sports interacts with their daily lives.

You enjoy it, watch it on a weekend, but don't realize how much it might be a part of your character.

"When you realize how we look as a society at fair play and about competitiveness and sportsmanship and also, even the things we say," he says. "How many times a day do you say 'three strikes and you're out' and not even realize that something like that originated in sports. So this exhibition is about just how deeply sports is intertwined with American culture."

Davis says they're here because West Virginia wants the exhibit and looks forward to not only showing it in Parkersburg but five other communities around the state.

People will have the chance to learn about what sports are played, what's special about the people who play those sports and how sports connects those communities.


A traveling exhibit looking at the role of sports in American culture is kicking off in Parkersburg next month.

The exhibit is being sponsored by West Virginia Humanities Council.

The new Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit is called "Hometown Teams."

It will begin at the Parkersburg Art Center on Feb. 9.

Officials selected six museums and cultural and community organizations to host the exhibit and provide public programs about their local sports culture.


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