Smithsonian "Hometown" Exhibition Premieres at Yogi Berra Museum

hometownHometown Teams, a traveling exhibition from the world-famous Smithsonian Institution that explores the connection between sports and community, will make its New Jersey premiere at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center.

Opening five days before this year’s Super Bowl, the quintessentially American sports and cultural extravaganza, Hometown Teams is the story of how sports connect generations and makes passionate, lifelong fans out of many of us. The exhibit is part of the Smithsonian’s “Museum on Main Street” program, in association with the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

The exhibit can be seen at the Museum from Jan. 29-March 16, 2014. A series of public programs connected to the exhibit will include a February sports film series, children’s sports art drawing classes, and a one-day sportswriting seminar.

The central 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.

Regular Museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 12 noon to 5 p.m. Below are special programs connected to Hometown Teams:

Wednesday, Feb. 5 – Lenny Cooke: The Documentary 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Screening of the acclaimed documentary on the much-hyped basketball phenom who was rated ahead of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in high school, but never made it to the NBA. Film followed by discussion with Harvey Araton of the New York Times and the film’s producer Adam Shopkorn. Tickets: $10. To RSVP: (973) 655-2378.

Sunday, Feb. 9 – Jerry Winick’s Sports Art Drawing Class
1 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
Award-winning pencil artist Jerry Winick will conduct art classes for students ages 7-12 on the fine points of drawing sports. Classes also held Feb. 15, 22, March 1 and March 8. Supplies provided. Fee: $25 for each class, or $100 for all five classes. To register: (973) 655-2378.

Wednesday, Feb. 19 – Branca’s Pitch 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Ballpark dinner and screening of documentary about Ralph Branca’s ill-fated pitch to Bobby Thomson in the 1951 National League playoff and famously known as The Shot Heard Round the World. Screening followed by discussion with Ralph Branca and filmmaker Andrew Muscato. Tickets: $25. To RSVP: (973) 655-2378.

Sunday, Feb. 16 – Bus Tour for Bronx Bombers
1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Bus tour to see Bronx Bombers, the new Broadway play about the New York Yankees, at Circle in the Square Theater. Package includes two-way bus transportation, snack and theater ticket. Tickets: $85 ($75 for museum members). To RSVP: (973) 655-2378.

Wednesday, Feb. 26 – 75-0: The Documentary 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Screening of documentary about the 1966 Verona (NJ) High School football team which lost 32 consecutive games, including a 75-0 blowout to Madison High, and the impact that humiliating loss had on the players’ lives. Film followed by discussion with filmmakers Lou Cortese (a member of the 1966 Verona team) and Jay Curtis. Tickets: $10. To RSVP: (973) 655-2378.

Saturday, March 1 – Write On Sports For Students 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. Sportswritng workshop for middle-school students interested in the sports media and reporting. Students will meet professional sports journalists and also have an opportunity to interview a professional athlete. Tuition-free program, to register call (973) 655-2378.

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