Smithsonian, A.C. sports exhibits go on display March 22

Hometown  Teams Title cmyk LargeThe Atlantic City Free Public Library is helping to bring an exciting exhibit created by the Smithsonian Institution to the city for a six-week stay.

The library is one of six organizations in New Jersey selected to host “Hometown Teams” – a traveling exhibition that celebrates American sports and sportsmanship. Atlantic City will be the second stop on the Hometown Teams’ 2014 road trip.

The exhibit will be displayed at the Noyes Art Garage Stockton College, located at the Wave parking garage at 2200 Fairmount Ave., from March 22 to May 4. Visitors will be able to view the exhibit from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday during that time.

The library will hold a ribbon-cutting pep rally at 2 p.m. March 22 at the Art Garage to kick off the exhibit’s visit to Atlantic City.

“We are honored to host an exhibit from a well-known institution such as the Smithsonian in Atlantic City,” Library Archivist Heather Halpin Perez said. “We think it’ll be a great opportunity for residents and visitors to see a national exhibit locally.”

The Smithsonian developed this display especially for smaller museums or rural audiences.

As a companion to Hometown Teams, the Atlantic City Free Public Library will present a new exhibit, “The Atlantic City Experience: Devotion and Determination.” This sports-based exhibit, which will also be located at the Art Garage, will showcase some of the people and places that are a part of the fabric of the city’s rich sports history.  Highlights will include Atlantic City Olympians and all-stars, women sports greats both before and after the enactment of Title IX, and the many venues in Atlantic City where sporting events have occurred.

The theme of the Hometown Teams exhibition is the ongoing cultural processes that have made America such a celebrator of sports, through teamwork, leadership and team pride. Through a selection of photographs, artifacts and memorabilia, the Hometown Teams exhibition explores various aspects of sports and teams, from how and why we play these games to what makes us fans and why we root for our home teams. The story is full of surprises about familiar games, histories of our teams and sports traditions, and how sports and teams have become such an integral part of American society.

Also, the library will present a series of “Pep Talks,” which will feature local experts discussing various Atlantic City-related sports topics. Guest speakers will include former NBA player and head coach Chris Ford; ex-Atlantic City High School star basketball player and head coach Laurie Carter; crew coaching legend Stan Bergman and NBC 40 Sports Director Pete Thompson.

The Pep Talks will also be held at the Noyes Art Garage. All programs are free.
•    Female Athletes’ Journey for Equity in Sports on Thursday, March 27, at 6 p.m. Guest speaker: Dr. Eileen Conran-Folks.
•    Basketball on Thursday, April 3, at 6 p.m. Guest speakers: Chris Ford and Laurie Carter.
•    Guided Tour of Hometown Teams and Atlantic City Experience Sports Exhibits on Friday, April 4, at 1 p.m. Guest speakers: Library staff members Heather Halpin Perez and Beth Ryan.
•    Baseball and Softball on Thursday, April 10, at 6 p.m. Guest speakers: Bob Derbyshire and Kathleen Whelan.
•    Boxing on Thursday, April 17, at 6 p.m. Guest speaker: Abdur Rahim Muhammad.
•    Crew and Swimming on Thursday, April 24, at 6 p.m. Guest speakers: Stan Bergman and Bill Howarth.
•    Sports Journalism on Thursday, May 1, at 6 p.m. Guest speaker: Pete Thompson.
•    Share and Tell: Atlantic City Sports Artifacts on Friday, May 2, at 1 p.m. Guest speaker: Library staff member Beth Ryan.

“Atlantic City is an American sports story,” Atlantic City Historical Museum Coordinator Beth Ryan said. “From Boardwalk Hall to the beaches, from the basketball courts to the baseball diamonds, we have many stories to tell. The Smithsonian exhibit will allow us the opportunity to bring these Atlantic City stories to light with special programming that visitors and residents of all ages can enjoy.”

Hometown Teams has been made possible in Atlantic City by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. Hometown Teams is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institute and State Humanities Councils nationwide. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.

Hometown Teams and Atlantic City Experience: Devotion and Determination is brought to you by: Smithsonian Institution, New Jersey Council for the Humanities, Atlantic City Free Public Library, City of Atlantic City and Noyes Arts Garage, Stockton College, in partnership with Atlantic County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, Atlantic City Alliance, Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority, Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, Atlantic City High School, African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey, The Press of Atlantic City, Ocean City Home Bank and the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

Please call (609) 345-2269, ext. 3064 for more information about Hometown Teams.