Museum on Main Street
The Museum on Main Street (MoMS) Program is the Smithsonian Institution’s Traveling Exhibition Service. NJCH works closely with the Smithsonian and NJ museums, historical societies and other cultural venues to bring MoMS exhibits to the state. Through highly targeted community programs and creative activities, MoMS exhibitions become a hub for storytelling and local pride. Residents enthusiastically engage with exhibition content, as diverse community members come together to share and celebrate their heritage.
ANNOUNCING THE HOST SITES OF HOMETOWN TEAMS IN NEW JERSEY!
- Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center – Montclair/Little Falls (Essex County)
- Atlantic City Historical Museum (Atlantic County)
- Howell Living History Farm, Mercer County Parks – Titusville (Mercer County)
- Bridgeton Public Library / The Municipality of Bridgeton (Cumberland County)
- Hudson County Community College – Union City Campus Library (Hudson County)
- Morris Museum (Morris County)
The newest Museum on Main Street (MoMS) Exhibition
from the Smithsonian Institution will be coming to New Jersey in 2014!
Love of sports begins in our hometowns. We play games on ball fields and sandlots, on courts, on ice, even in the street. If we’re not playing sports, we’re watching them, sitting in stands to cheer on the local teams and our friends and family. Hometown Teams is a cultural history of the American sports landscape. It is the story of a diverse assortment of people interacting with games, activities that encourage the development of competition, fair play, and a passion for a goal. Connecting generations and making lifelong fans out of many of us, sports help to define who we are as individuals, as teams, and as Americans. No part of American culture so colorfully and passionately celebrates American ideals as does sports.
The central theme of the Hometown Teams exhibition is the ongoing cultural processes that have made America such a celebrator of sports, through teamwork, leadership, and team pride. Through a selection of photographs, artifacts, and memorabilia, the Hometown Teams exhibition explores various aspects of sports and teams, from how and why we play these games to what makes us fans and why we root for our home teams. The story is full of surprises about familiar games, histories of our teams and sports traditions, and how sports and teams have become such an intergral part of American society.
Questions? Please contact Mary Grace Whealan, Program Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hometown Teams has been made possible in New Jersey by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. Hometown Teams is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and state humanities councils across the country. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.
What is MoMS?
The Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program is the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service’s key initiative that directly engages small town audiences and brings revitalized attention to underserved rural communities through their own Main Street museums, historical societies and other cultural venues.
MoMS develops critical partnerships with state humanities councils to bring Smithsonian traveling exhibitions to small towns. MoMS exhibitions are a powerful catalyst – opening doors to a community’s own history, its culture, its people, and to an enhanced pride of place.
To generate grassroots engagement, MoMS works in close collaboration with state humanities councils and more than 900 institutions in rural towns across the nation. For these communities (with an average population of 8,000), the opportunity to host the Smithsonian provides much more than a quality educational experience. Through highly targeted community programs and creative activities, MoMS exhibitions become a hub for storytelling and local pride. Residents enthusiastically engage with exhibition content, as diverse community members come together to share and celebrate their heritage.
It all began in 1991, when thirteen state humanities councils, in coordination with SITES, received a grant from the Smithsonian’s Special Exhibition Fund and conducted a survey of nearly one hundred small, remote cultural institutions. This landmark survey assessed the programmatic and exhibition preferences of rural museums, historical organizations and libraries and provided the basis for state humanities councils’ ongoing collaboration with SITES that eventually developed into Museum on Main Street. The survey verified that residents of America’s small towns experience severe geographic, economic and cultural isolation. These small but vibrant facilities located in rural areas often serve as community centers, well positioned to offer exciting public programs, yet are restricted from doing so by limited budgets and insufficient staff.
These small museums are routinely excluded from traveling exhibition programs because they cannot accommodate large structural components, complex installations, and expensive shipping and participation fees. Relying on the results of the survey of small museums, Smithsonian designers developed a new exhibit format that earned a Presidential Design Award for Excellence not only because it delivers high-quality content in a compact package, but also because it is tailored so precisely to the specific needs of resource-poor museums.
What is MoMS’ exhibition focus?
Museum on Main Street circulates Smithsonian exhibitions focusing on broad topics of American history and culture, like roots music, foodways, work and migration. Exhibitions are organized around elements of our shared American experience, helping host organizations explore cultural attributes that bind us as a nation. All exhibitions are freestanding, contain original objects, and travel in easy-to-handle wheeled crates. State humanities councils help local organizers to prepare exhibit-related events with scholarly consultations and preparatory workshops. Small town participants add hard work, ambition, and a sense of fun. As a result, rural museums benefit from high visibility, increased attendance, professional museum training, and capital improvements to their facilities.
Museum on Main Street exhibitions have traveled to nearly 700 towns with populations of 500 to 20,000 across the country. They have inspired heightened awareness of local history. Exciting collaborations begin between museums, educational organizations, and local businesses. Entire communities get involved unleashing a tidal wave of public programs and educational activities. The success of Museum on Main Street is evidenced not only in the broad scope of public programs in host communities, but in how the project served as a catalyst in fostering lasting institutional advancements and ambitious capital improvements. With ongoing federal support, Museum on Main Street will continue to showcase local heritage in untold numbers of under-served communities across the country.