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Still time to see Newport’s library’s Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition; features Eddie Arcaro

The Smithsonian Institute will call the Newport Branch of Campbell County Public Library home through June 3 for a special traveling exhibit celebrating the importance of sports to society in general and Newport in particular.

The Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition: Hometown Teams shows how sports are more than just games; they stoke our passions and help shape who we are as Americans. On a local level, a companion exhibit includes highlights of Newport’s rich sports history.

“Sports is a dominant part of our culture, from little kids playing T-ball and soccer to professional athletes who become role models,” said Chantelle Phillips, assistant director and Newport branch manager. “Sports touches all of our lives, whether we participate or cheer for those who do. Sports also encourages excellence, helps us challenge stereotypes and rewards success both on and off the field.”

Among the national exhibit’s highlights:

 A look at 10 sports venues;
 Commercial objects (such as Air Jordan shoes and Soccer Barbie);
 Sights and sounds of game day activities, from cheerleaders and marching bands to mascots and tailgating;
 Serious topics such as the Civil Rights Movement and Title IX.

Highlights for the companion Newport exhibit include:

 The career of former Newport resident Eddie Arcaro, the only rider to be aboard two Triple Crown champions at the Kentucky Derby;
 Achievements of Donna LJ Murphy, who played basketball at Newport High School and was named the first Miss Kentucky Basketball;
 The history of Knothole in Newport;
 Early baseball clubs, including the Wiedemann Baseball Club, the semi-professional team sponsored by the Wiedemann Brewing Company in the early 1900s.

The exhibit is the result of a year-long effort by the Smithsonian, the Library and local historians and experts, and contributions from current and former Newport athletes and their loved ones.

“I love hearing people tell their personal stories about sports and to hear how all those stories connect us,” Ms. Phillips said. “So many memories revolve around participating in sports or watching your kids play sports, or hanging out with friends watching and playing sports. Parents who have spent entire weekends watching their kids play have a common bond regardless of how they might differ in other ways.”

Regular hours the Smithsonian exhibit will be open to the public are 1-5 pm Sundays (except closed May 28); 11 am-4 pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays; and 1-7 pm Fridays. To arrange for a group tour at a different time, contact Chantelle Phillips at cphillips@cc-pl.org or call her at 859-572-5035, ext. 9.

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You may also be interested in Terry Boehmker’s NKyTribune story on Hometown Teams.

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