Cumberland Times-News

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December 3, 2013

Allegany Museum to host state sports history exhibit in 2015

CUMBERLAND — The Allegany Museum will play host to a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition on Maryland sports history in 2015. The museum was one of five host venues chosen by the Maryland Humanities Council for the exhibit called Hometown Teams.

Being chosen for the exhibit means good things for the museum, said Allegany Museum President Gary Bartik. “One of our ultimate goals is to become an affiliate of the Smithsonian. These exhibits are sort of an apprenticeship,” Bartik said.

While the exhibit is a ways off, the museum is already preparing for the exhibit. “We’re excited about it, we want to make it a grand kickoff for the new year,” Bartik said.

The exact scheduling of the exhibit’s visit to the Allegany Museum remains tentative, but is expected in February, Bartik said. The Allegany Museum will be the main host, but it’s possible parts of the exhibit, or related exhibits, will take place at other venues in Allegany and Garrett counties, according to the humanities council.

“While Hometown Teams will be located at the Allegany Museum, other exhibits will also be available for viewing at various museums, libraries and colleges throughout the county. Sports continue to be a source of individual and community pride. Shining a bright light on sports will emphasize the role sports play in our everyday lives today and historically,” said Vic Rezendes, vice president, administration, at the Allegany Museum.

The exhibit will tour Maryland from February through November 2015.

“The traveling exhibition created by the Smithsonian Institution explores our nation’s love of sports and its connection to American culture and identity. The interactive exhibit celebrates the history of sports in our nation, breaking color barriers, fans and fandom, sports in film, literature and more.  Each host will develop a companion exhibit and educational programs for their communities for a seven-week period that tells local sports stories,” according to a news release from Michele Alexander of the MHC.

Phoebe Stein, MHC executive director, remarks, “The sites chosen celebrate Maryland’s rich sports heritage, from Olympians to local sports heroes to groundbreaking athletes who influenced sports today. We’re looking forward to the wealth of programs and subjects covered in local exhibitions.”

Bartik said the museum plans other exhibits in the future about local sports history as well, including the history of the Dapper Dan award and local ballparks. That’s one of the goals of the MHC.

 “While our unique official state sports are jousting and lacrosse, sailing races on the Chesapeake Bay also figure into Maryland’s sporting legacy. But there are more stories to unearth, including the Hot Sox ball field in Galesville, soapbox derby champions hailing from Federalsburg, Cumberland’s Pig Tail and Queen City softball leagues, and athletes who rose to fame at the state’s many historically black colleges and universities. Howard County residents golfer George Bradford and paralympian athlete Tatyana McFadden, who have made a lasting international impact on their respective sports, are also part of the story,” according to the MHC.

The Allegany Museum has been chosen as a Hometown Teams site and will partner with the Allegany County Historical Society, Frostburg State University, Allegany College of Maryland, the Allegany County Library System, the C. Gilchrist Museum of the Arts and the Frostburg Museum, according to MHC officials.

Other sites hosting the exhibit will include the Banneker-Douglass Museum in Annapolis, Galesville Community Center, Federalsburg Historical Society and Howard County Historical Society. The full tour schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.

 Matthew Bieniek can be contacted at mbieniek@times-news.com.

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