Smithsonian exhibit ‘Hometown Teams’ in Aurora

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Display using sports as storytelling tool at alumni center

Aurora will be the final stop on a Midwestern tour for the traveling Smithsonian Institute exhibit called "Hometown Teams," going on display Sunday at the Houn' Dawg Alumni and Outreach Center in the historic National Guard Armory, 409 W. Locust.

The Missouri Humanities Council and the Smithsonian is underwriting the show as part of the Museum on Main Street program, a national, state, and local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations as a free service to the public. Co-hosting this special event is Shawn Darst of Darst Heating and Cooling in Aurora, who is providing warehouse space for this special event at the old Coke Plant building at 118 E. Church Street.

“We are thrilled to be here in Missouri and for this to be our final stop for the exhibit,” said Terri Cobb, registrar for Museum on Main Street of the Smithsonian Institute. “This is a fun exhibit. Everyone has a connection to sports, whether it’s taking a child to practice or cheering on your hometown team. You don’t have to play to be a part of sports, it’s part of our language and our culture and that’s what makes this so unique. It’s really an American story.”

Aurora was selected to host “Hometown Teams” last year. The exhibit portrays a theme of storytelling through sports, events, leaders, celebrities, underdogs, longshots and landmark events. The exhibit focuses on both a national and local level with over-arching themes like sports and culture, fan experiences, player experiences, and new sports that seem to crop up around the country.

The exhibition has been touring six communities in Missouri from April through January. The schedule for the exhibit will be on Fridays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“This is a great opportunity to showcase our town, its rich history, its colorful people and our determination to share, preserve, protect and promote our stories in a variety of ways,” stated Kim McCully-Mobley, co-director of the exhibit with Brad Boettler.

Parking will be available during the exhibit at the Arvest Bank parking lot just east of the Darst facility.

Several additional exhibits will be on display throughout the community to help tell Aurora’s story, which often is anchored in the Houn’ Dawg history of the popular military mascot that dates back to the early 1900s. By the 1920s, the school had claimed the mascot as well. Additional highlights of local history include exhibition games by the Kansas City Monarchs, patriotic efforts during World Wars I and II and additional vintage sports items, baseball cards and celebrities who have embraced the community’s colorful history.

The exhibit will remain on display through Jan. 27, 2019. Groups, classes and individuals wanting to schedule private tours can email kmobley@aurorar8.org or call 417-229-2094 and leave a message.