‘Hometown Teams’: Sports subject of new museum exhibit

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Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald Volunteers work to get the setup just right for the ‘Hometown Teams’ exhibit opening March 22 at the Moses Lake Museum & Art Center. The traveling exhibit will visit other cities in Washington, so volunteers from those communities came to Moses Lake to learn how to set it up.

MOSES LAKE — Sports and the part they play in American life is the subject of a new exhibit opening next week at the Moses Lake Museum & Art Center. The opening reception for “Hometown Teams” is scheduled for 5 p.m. March 22 at the museum, 401 S. Balsam St.

The exhibit is presented in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution and Humanities Washington. “Hometown Teams” will be on display through April 26.

It’s only fitting that the opening reception of a sports exhibit would feature a pep rally. “We’re hoping people will wear their jerseys,” said Jenni Shelton, the museum’s engagement coordinator. All school and team spirit will be welcomed, she said.

There’s a hot dog stand - “we’re calling it a hot dog stand,” Shelton said. And of course there will be peanuts and crackerjack, and there might be beer.

Philosophy professor Mike VanQuickenborne will talk about some of the deeper meanings of sports in a lecture at 7 p.m. March 22 in the Moses Lake Civic Center auditorium. “The Good Game: On the Moral Value of Sports” addresses a number of questions about sports, ranging from what makes a sport to the implications of technology. Admission is free.

Moses Lake is the first stop on a year-long tour of Washington for “Hometown Teams,” said Carol Harsh, director of the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program. The Smithsonian provides backdrops and some artifacts, and the local museum does the rest.

“The real story is the local story,” Harsh said.

“The community really helped us out,” Shelton said, bringing trophies and football helmets, bowling shirts and team pictures, letter sweaters, cheerleading uniforms, football jerseys and wrestling singlets. There are pictures and items loaned by Moses Lake High School, Shelton said.

Some Moses Lake athletes have made it into the Big Leagues, and some signed jerseys from their days in the Bigs will be on display.

“We even have some stuff from Neppel,” Shelton said, which was original name of Moses Lake. Neppel had a high school and sports teams, and some memorabilia from NHS will be on display.

In conjunction with the show, the film “A League of Their Own” will be shown at noon March 23 at the Civic Center auditorium. Seating is limited to 200. The 1992 film follows the fortunes of a team in a women’s professional baseball league, formed during World War II, at a time when it looked like there wouldn’t be enough men to play major league baseball.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached via email at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.

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