CONTACTS:
Pete Watson or Kathy Brilla at 609-737-3299 or pwatson@mercercounty.org
Margaret Newman at mnewmanhistory@comcast.net

HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP -- The Mercer County Park Commission will be among the first in the nation to host the Smithsonian Institution's newest traveling exhibit, Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America.

The exhibit will be on display in the Visitors Barn at the Park Commission's Howell Living History Farm from May 10 - June 22, featuring photographs, artifacts and memorabilia that tell the stories of the hometown teams, coaches, fans, cheerleaders, marching bands and businesses that make sports an integral part of American culture. The story of the Pleasant Valley Quails, the baseball team that once played in the community surrounding Howell Farm, is among those highlighting a series of talks, reunions, meet-and-greets, and other programs held throughout the exhibit.

The New Jersey Council for the Humanities selected the farm as one of six New Jersey locations to host the exhibition, which is part of the Smithsonian's Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program, now in its 20th year. Through the program, which presents the unique experiences of life in American small towns, the public is invited to share their personal stories by recording them on the program's website or via a free app. Each story is included in a digital archive that can be searched by location or by topic.  Visitors to Hometown Teams can listen to the stories -- and add their own -- by using the exhibit's built-in sound system and recording pod.

"We are proud to bring Hometown Teams to our area," said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes.  "It will give our school children and the public an unprecedented opportunity to explore the role that sports, recreation and teamwork play in everyday life -- in our backyards, school yards, neighborhood fields, as well as places like the Sun Bank arena, Arm & Hammer Park and Mercer County Park, where the Special Olympics 2014 USA Games will be held in June. It's a wonderful way to connect people with the cultural life of our community."

The exhibit will be open during the farm's regular operating hours, Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from noon until 4 p.m. In addition to self-guided and docent-led tours during these hours, the farm is offering a full lineup of events, including an old-time baseball game that visitors can play in, local team reunions, an oral history project for schools, and in the fall, a sports-themed corn maze designed for friendly competitions and teambuilding.

Howell Farm is a facility of the Mercer County Park Commission. It is located on Valley Road, just off Route 29 two miles south of Lambertville, NJ (GPS location: 70 Woodens Lane, Lambertville 08530). The farm is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.; parking, general admission and the Hometown Teams exhibit are free.

For additional information about the farm's programs, including additional details about Hometown Teams, call 609-737-3299 or visit websites www.howellfarm.org or www.mercercountyparks.org.

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (www.sites.si.edu) connects Americans to their cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science, and history.  The New Jersey Council for the Humanities (www.njch.org) is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The Council works closely with the Smithsonian and New Jersey museums, historical societies and other cultural organizations to bring Museum on Main Street exhibits to the state.

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