Sports are intertwined with American society. Since the earliest forms of native games to today’s extreme competitions, sports have left an indelible mark on the fabric of American culture. Today, sports are a multibillion-dollar industry. Social media provides a never ceasing outlet for community interaction surrounding sporting events and discussions. At their core, sports are an opportunity for self-exploration through the lens of competition, social structures, and community building.
Interpreting Sports at Museums and Historic Sites encourages museums, historical sites and cultural institutions to consider the history of sport as integral to American culture and society. Sports provide a vehicle to understanding the growth and development of America from colonization to globalization. Central to this work is a call to bring a balanced view of humanity to the sports commemoration conversation. Museums can and should be places of advocacy and inclusion for all athletes and sports figures: young & old, ametuer & professional, past & present. Practitioners are encouraged to consider museums as safe spaces to approach empathetic, complex, enthralling conversations that allow for both celebratory and challenging topics.
This comprehensive study provides analytical direction and practical application for interpreting sports history at a variety of sites; guiding sports and non-sports museum professionals alike. A robust series of essays illuminate the innovative, forward thinking nature of sport exhibition and programming that is an active part of the American museum experience. Thirty-two national and international authors take an honest look at the ways sports impacts culture and culture impacts sports. Six thematic essays uncover the particularities of navigating the sports historical landscape alongside an actively engaged, present-day audience. Then, a wide selection of case studies explore successful and unsuccessful attempts at attracting the public and engaging in educational discussion around both uplifting and difficult sports topics.
Opportunities for including sports in exhibition planning and programmatic development are a key benefit of this practical guide. You’ll discover an astounding variety of viewpoints and methods for offering popular sports programming into your institutional programming and outreach efforts. From a fun mix of museum professionals, historians, and sports personnel comes this complete guide to developing and implementing a more cohesive story of sport history within your institution.
Kathryn Leann Harris specializes in commemoration studies, particularly in relation to sports, politics, and war. She has held positions at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in Birmingham, Alabama, International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, and Adidas History Management Department in Nuremberg, Germany.
Douglas Stark served as museum director at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. He has also held positions at the United States Golf Association Museum in Far Hills, New Jersey and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Foreword Murray G. Phillips
Preface Kathryn Leann Harris and Douglas Stark
Introduction Julia Rose and Jason Rose
Field Survey Sport History, Public History, and Popular Culture: A Growing Engagement Kevin Moore
Part I Expand the Scope
Chapter 1: Stepping Up to the Plate: Interpreting Sports with Well-Rounded Exhibits Kristin L. Gallas
Evening the Score: Interpreting the History of Women and Sports Elizabeth L. Maurer
Striking Out: Museums Aren’t Interpreting Queer Sports History…But They Should Be Sarah E. Calise
High Stakes: Designing a Sports Gallery for the National Museum of African
American History and Culture Damion Thomas with Shi Evans
Get in the Game: Exhibiting the Fight for Equality in American Sports Nikki Diller
Chapter 2: From Local to Global: Interpreting Sports and Globalization Bruce Kidd and Jenny Ellison
Aces and Places: Serving the Globe at the International Tennis Hall of Fame Nicole F. Markham
Football Hallelujah!: A European Traveling Exhibition Annemarie de Wilt
Hockey: Challenging Canada’s Game Jenny Ellison
Part II Consider Your Constituents
Chapter 3: Fans, Coaches, Athletes and Participants: Interpreting Sports and Identity Kathryn Leann Harris
Exhibiting the Mental Game: Empathetic Sports Conversations Kathryn Leann Harris
Experiences for All: Participant and Fan Engagement at the NASCAR Hall of Fame Daniel J. Simone
Dear Boston: Messages from the Marathon Memorial Dan Yaeger
Chapter 4: Finding Authenticity with the Voice of Influence: Interpreting Sports and Branding Erin Narloch
Playing Nice: The Making of Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture Elizabeth Semmelheck
Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame: Telling the Story of this Historic Brand Krissy Zegers and Justine Kaempfer
Challenging Branded Appropriation by Uncovering Native Mascot Origins Kathryn Leann Harris
Part III Engage Your Audience
Chapter 5: Connecting to Your Community: Interpreting Sports and Place Kathryn Leann Harris and Terence Healy
Recalling Community at the District Six Museum Chrischené Julius
The Art of Baseball at the Concord Museum Carol L. Haines
Pedaling Through History: 150 Years of the Bicycle from the Collection of Glenn Eames William F. Brooks, Jr.
Discovering Strong Medicine: Native American Healing Rituals and Sports Kathryn Leann Harris and Marcus Monenerkit
Chapter 6: Empowering with Knowledge: Interpreting Sports through Education Amanda McAllen
Boston vs Bullying: Prevention through Programming Kathryn Leann Harris
Innoskate: Museum Education Meets Sports & Invention Jeffery L. Brodie
Know Thy Sports Fan: Lessons from Audience Research Amanda Krantz and Dean Krimmel
Conclusion Kathryn Leann Harris and Douglas Stark
Afterword Kenneth Cohen
Too often, sport museums focus on feel-good stories and commodified nostalgia, but the wide range of case studies in this collection provide plenty of examples of how to critically present and interpret sport history. It's the book public history practitioners and museum professionals need.
In this volume editors Kathryn Leann Harris and Douglas Stark have created a comprehensive primer and handbook for the interpretation of sports in the context of museums. They've assembled an All-Star cast of scholars and museum professionals who've examined a topic that is nothing less than both a mirror in which society views itself and a prism through which one can understand as wide a variety of issues as one can possibly imagine. For sports possess the potential to foster understanding while transcending politics. Thus, within the context of museums, resides precious common ground. This remarkable thoroughly researched volume is nothing less than a blueprint for the maximization of such potential.