Article and Photography by SARAH NACHIN
Saturday, September 28 saw the unveiling of an interesting interactive exhibit put together by the Historic Hernando Preservation Society. On loan from the Smithsonian Institution, it is part of its Museum on Main Street Exhibits. The theme of this one is “Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America.” In addition to the items from the Smithsonian, there is local sports memorabilia that members of the community lent for the duration of the exhibit. The display will be in Brooksville for six weeks and is open to the public. There is something of interest to children as well as adults and, best of all, admission is free.
The opening day kickoff began with a cheerleading demonstration by the Parrott Middle School Leopards cheerleaders under the direction of Ms. Crystal Whitehouse. Jon Yeager, Secretary and Project Director for the Historic Hernando Preservation Society, welcomed everyone to the event. Brooksville Vice-Mayor Joe Bernardini cut the ribbon to officially open the exhibition.
There are seven sections to the exhibit demonstrating the importance of sports to our communities. It covers traditional sports such as football and baseball, along with the less common ones such as lacrosse. Some of the topics are “More than a Game/Sports Everywhere,” which illustrates the many connections between sports and American popular culture; “Fields of Glory,” which covers the various sports venues; and “Sports Revolution,” which discusses the technology and the future of sports.
“A huge box truck arrived with twenty-one crates on wheels, each weighing about 150 pounds,” Yeager stated. “It took five or six hours to put the whole thing together and about two weeks to gather all the local memorabilia.”
Among the displays are posters; sports equipment, such as a helmet from the early days of football; trophies; magazine covers with pictures of well-known athletes; a video that you can view; products endorsed by sports figures; a stereoscopic viewer that gives 3-D images of famous sports venues; and cards with trivia questions that you can answer. There is even an app you can download.
In conjunction with the exhibit, the Preservation Society will host guest speakers and a panel discussion. These will cover a wide range of sports-related topics – Florida Sports History, the Early History of Hernando County Sports, Sports Photography and Hernando Youth League: Shaping Lives through Sports. All these events are free and open to the public.
The Historic Hernando Preservation Society is a private non-profit organization affiliated with the Florida Humanities Council. Its mission is to support and encourage ongoing interest, research and preservation of the historical-cultural resources of our county, including aspects of archaeology, architecture and culture. Membership is open to anyone interested in preserving our unique cultural-historical resources. You can also visit one of the monthly meetings at Brooksville City Hall on the first Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m.
In addition to the current exhibit, the Preservation Society has dedicated several local historical markers over the years, including Bayport and most recently Garden Grove. Next year the organization is applying once again with the Florida Humanities Council to host three speakers from their “Florida Talks” series.
“We are also excited about progress in the study of Chocochatti, the early Creek-Seminole village founded in the 1760’s southeast of Brooksville. We also anticipate beginning work on more historical markers,” Yeager concludes.
The “Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America” exhibition is housed at the Hernando County Mining Association Enrichment Center (The Quarry) located at 800 John Gary Grubbs Blvd. in Brooksville, just off U.S. 41 (Broad St.). It is open Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
For more information on the Historic Hernando Preservation Society log onto www.HernandoPast.org. You can apply for membership and sign up for the free monthly E-Newsletter.