DADE CITY — Like lightning, it’s not the sort of thing that often strikes twice. But for the second year in a row, locals won’t have to go far to experience the wonder of the Smithsonian Institute.
After a successful run in 2017 with the Museum on Main Street’s (MoMS) "The Way We Worked," the Florida Humanities Council has again selected the Pioneer Florida Museum to host another traveling exhibit.
"Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America," runs March 17—April 28 at the Dade City museum and village. The exhibit, which examines the role hometown sports play in American society, is part of the MoMS mission to bring a taste of the Washington D.C. museum to parts of small-town America through a series of traveling exhibits.
"We are really excited about it," said museum executive director, Stephanie Bracknell Black, noting the success of last year’s exhibit that brought in new visitors, including kids on school field trips.
Black said that landing the exhibit was a longshot for this year, but still applied for the grant to bring "Hometown Teams" to Dade City. Now it’s the final exhibition of a six-stop Florida tour before the show rolls on to Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri and Texas.
"It’s a very competitive process, but we thought it would be a great fit," she said.
The exhibit, brought to the museum through a grant with the Florida Humanities Council and sponsored by Suncoast Credit Union, features multi-sided display boards, artifacts and memorabilia, including stadium seats, lockers and a variety of interactive activities.
Opening day on March 17 kicks off with an appearance by the Tampa Bay Lightning mascot "Lightning Bug" and offers free entrance to Pasco County school employees with a school ID.
The exhibit will features guest speakers and special events, including a James "Mudcat" Grant Day, (March 24) celebrating the hometown hero and major league star pitcher from Lacoochee.
"He’s going to try be here," Black said. "But he’s in his 80s now and lives in California, so we’re not sure. We will have some of his special display items and memorabilia — a picture of him with President John Kennedy — and members of his family will be here."
Contact Michele Miller at [email protected] Follow @MicheleMiller52.