HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP -- Howell Living History Farm will feature two special programs this weekend in connection with its hosting of the Smithsonian Institution's traveling exhibit, "Hometown Teams -- How Sports Shape America."
On Friday evening, May 16, award-winning author Larry Kidder of Ewing will present an illustrated talk about the Pleasant Valley Quails, a community baseball team that played in the rural environs of Hopewell Township in the 1930s and '40s. The talk will focus on local stories of teamwork and community spirit that shaped Pleasant Valley throughout its history, as chronicled in his newly released book, "Farming in Pleasant Valley."
Sunday afternoon, May 18, two-time Olympian and World Championships medalist Barbara Kirch Grudt of Hightstown will meet and greet Howell Farm visitors in the "Hometown Teams" exhibit gallery, where she will talk about her career as a rower and rowing coach, and about the training and teamwork that put many of the teams she coached in the history books. Her husband, Kris Grudt, executive director of the Princeton National Rowing Association, will talk about PNRA's programs and how aspiring rowers of all ages can participate.
Both programs are free, and will take place in the Charles Fish Barn in the farm's visitor center. The Friday evening program begins at 7:30 p.m. Sunday's "meet & greet" program runs from 2 to 3 p.m.
The farm is among the first in the nation to host the "Hometown Teams" exhibit, which features 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 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.
The exhibit will be open during the farm's regular operating hours, Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. In addition to self-guided and docent-led tours during these hours, the farm is offering a full lineup of related events, including an old-time baseball game that visitors can play in, local team reunions, programs 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). Parking, general admission and admission to the "Hometown Teams" exhibit are free.
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.