Smithsonian Sports Exhibit Coming to Blytheville, Wynne, Helena, Arkadelphia & Batesville

Dallas County touts itself as the per-capita home to the most Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame inductees in the state. That’s hard to argue with legends like Larry Lacewell, Houston Nutt, Sr., Kevin Williams, Jimmy Parker and, of course, Paul “Bear” Bryant – whose new Fordyce museum exhibit I discuss at Arkansas Money & Politics  – all hailing from the area.

But other Arkansas towns have impressive sports heritages, too. And in 2017 the Smithsonian Institute will help highlight those histories with the arrival of a traveling exhibit: “Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America.” The exhibit “will capture the stories that unfold on the neighborhood fields and courts, and 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,” according to this press release.

“This project gives communities an opportunity to share these stories, celebrate local legends and collect memorabilia from the community. With the support and guidance of state humanities councils, these towns will develop complementary exhibits, host humanities programs and facilitate educational initiatives about sports and ideals such as team work, fair play, leadership and respect.”

I’m pleased to report the following communities and dates will highlighted:

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I’m reaching out to folks involved with these organizations to find more details about which Arkansan sports stars, exactly, will be featured. In the meantime, I’d love to get your thoughts on which local legends should be celebrated.

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