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Press Release

July 13, 2015

Local contact: Robbin Davis
Pioneer Woman Museum, Oklahoma Historical Society
Office: 580-765-6108
Email: rdavis@okhistory.org

State Council Contact: Caroline Lowery
Oklahoma Humanities Council
Office: 405-235-0280
Email: caroline@okhumanities.org

Smithsonian Contact: Jennifer Schommer
Office: 202-633-3121
Email: schommerj@si.edu

Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Celebrating Sports in American Communities Coming to Ponca City

Ponca City, Okla.  — Baseball. Soccer. Hockey. Bowling. Kickball. Surfing. People around the country are drawn to compete in these sports and many others. Still more gather on the sidelines to cheer for their favorite athletes and teams. Nowhere do Americans more intimately connect to sports than in their hometowns. The Pioneer Woman Museum, in cooperation with Oklahoma Humanities Council (OHC), will celebrate this connection as it hosts "Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America," a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian's Museum on Main Street program. "Hometown Teams" will be on view July 24, 2015, through September 5, 2015.

Pioneer Woman Museum and the surrounding community has been expressly chosen by the Oklahoma Humanities Council to host "Hometown Teams" as part of the Museum on Main Street program—a national/state/local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations. The exhibition will tour six communities in Oklahoma from Oklahoma City through Guymon. A short video about the exhibition can be viewed at http://s.si.edu/1bSRDZd.

"Hometown Teams" will capture the stories that unfold on the neighborhood fields and courts, as well as the underdog heroics, larger-than-life legends, fierce rivalries and gut-wrenching defeats. For more than 100 years, sports have reflected the trials and triumphs of the American experience and helped shape the national character. Whether it is professional sports or those played on the collegiate or scholastic level, amateur sports or sports played by kids on the local playground, sports are everywhere in America.

"We are very pleased to be able to bring ‘Hometown Teams' to our area," said Robbin Davis, Pioneer Woman Museum director. "It allows us the opportunity to explore this fascinating aspect of our own region's sports history and we hope that it will inspire many to become even more involved in the cultural life of our community."

"Allowing all of our state's residents to have access to the cultural resources of our nation's premiere museum is a priority of the Oklahoma Humanities Council," said Ann Thompson, director of the OHC. "With this special tour, we are pleased to be working with the Pioneer Woman Museum and Ponca City to help develop local exhibitions and public programs to compliment the Smithsonian exhibition." Such free events include a free lecture and presentation on Saturday, August 29, and on Saturday, July 25, a city-wide pep rally at the museum to open the exhibit.

Museum on Main Street invites the public to share their local sports stories through the "Stories from Main Street" website at www.storiesfrommainstreet.org or through the free mobile app available from the Mac App Store or the Google Play Store. Both platforms record and map the location reflected in the submission and will accept written and audio stories as well as videos and photos. Selected submitted stories to "Stories from Main Street" will be featured on the website and app. The archived stories will serve as a searchable record of the unique experiences of life in American small towns. Each story can be searched via location or by topic.

"Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America" is part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation and local host institutions. To learn more about "Hometown Teams" and other Museum on Main Street exhibitions, visit www.museumonmainstreet.org.

Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress. State and local sponsors include the Boeing Company, Beaver Express Service, Phillips 66, the Ponca City Chamber, A+ Printing, the Oklahoma Historical Society and the Friends of the Pioneer Woman Statue and Museum.

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 60 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For exhibition description and tour schedules, visit www.sites.si.edu.

The Pioneer Woman Museum, a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society, is located at 701 Monument Rd. in Ponca City. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains 31 museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.

The mission of the Oklahoma Humanities Council (OHC) is to strengthen communities by helping Oklahomans learn about the human experience, understand new perspectives, and participate knowledgeably in civic life. For more information about Hometown Teams, contact OHC Program Officer Caroline Lowery at 405-235-0280 or at caroline@okhumanities.org.

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