This story originally appeared as an interview on Tri-States Public Radio
A national museum exhibit “Hometown Teams” is coming to Hancock County this year. It focuses on how sports have shaped America.
Hancock County is one of six Illinois communities selected this year to host the newest installment in the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street.
Each host community is responsible for developing local exhibits to complement the national display. Carthage’s Community Development Director Amy Graham said they’ve spent months working to profile the county’s rich sports history.
Listen 5:33 Interview with Amy Graham, Community Development Director for Carthage.
“In rural America. You go to these events. It just seems to be something that brings people together and becomes much more than an athletic event. It becomes a social event.”
Hancock County applied through the Illinois Humanities Council to participate. The Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program work with rural communities with a population under 25,000.
“The reason we wanted to do this is to bring the county together,” Graham said. “We know it’s important to stand unified not only in a project like this but in attracting business, providing youth activities, supporting entrepreneurs and marketing the county. It’s a bigger picture than just the sports. We are hoping this is just one piece of unifying the county and helping us move forward.”
The national Smithsonian exhibit will be displayed in Carthage from November to mid-December. Graham says they plan to have nine local exhibits go up across the county by early September. All will be free to the public.