BRS Museum Tabbed For Smithsonian Project

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A wonderful opportunity awaits the Bottomley-Ruffing-Schalk Baseball Museum to showcase its displays and exhibits, as well as the entire town of Nokomis.

The Illinois Humanities Council recently selected the BRS Museum as one of six host sites throughout the state for the Hometown Teams exhibit, which is part of the Smithsonian Institution's Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program.

The BRS Museum will house the exhibits from June 7 through July 20. This time frame allows for the museum to partner with local businesses, organizations and individuals while being open during the busy summer season, including during the Nokomis Homecoming festival in early July.

"This is a great opportunity for the BRS to put its best foot forward," project director and museum treasurer Steve Johnson said. "Joining forces with the community is an integral part of this exhibition's success. The museum is not just about some artifacts in the building itself. It really is a testament to the great people of Nokomis and the surrounding communities - past, present and future."

Hometown Teams will capture the inextricable connection between towns and their teams. The exhibit will feature artifacts, stories and special events that will provide audiences a chance to explore how historic upsets, championship runs, rivalries, traditions, individuals and teams can leave an indelible mark on a community. 

An exhibition national in theme and local in scope, the local history and sports heritage of Nokomis and the surrounding area will also be featured prominently.

The MoMS program is a partnership between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC). MoMS brings Smithsonian-quality exhibitions to local museums, historical societies, libraries and community centers around the country and state of Illinois. 

Each exhibit celebrates and explores the local heritage within the context of a broad national theme. Recent exhibits to have toured Illinois have included Journey Stories and The Way We Worked.

Hometown Teams is a brand new exhibit from the Smithsonian and Illinois is one of six states chosen to premiere the exhibit.

Other sites in Illinois chosen to host the exhibit are in Cobden, Mattoon, Waterloo, Rock Island and Nauvoo.

"Illinois has such a rich history when it comes to sports and many of the stories originate from small towns," mentioned Mallory Laurel, the IHC's lead coordinator of the Museum on Main Street program. "This exhibit will bring to light the small yet significant stories that together tell a greater story about Illinois and the Midwest." 

Laurel and IHC staff will work closely with BRS Museum throughout 2013, bringing to life the exhibition, events and educational initiatives that will honor the area's local heritage.

The Illinois Humanities Council is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. The IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for and involvement in humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal and private funds.

Hometown Teams will be in place from June 7 through July 20, 2014 at the BRS Baseball Museum, located at 121 W. State St., on Illinois Route 16 in downtown Nokomis. The event is free and open to all audiences. 

For more information, please visit www.brsmuseum.org or contact museum treasurer Steve Johnson at 217-563-2495.

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