The Independence Regional Museum
and along 7 EAST programs from 4 different school districts are partnering to create a documentary
showing the impact of sports on our community – HOMETOWN TEAMS. The project was inspired by
the museum’s recently awarded Smithsonian grant. The Youth Access Endowment will offer
development and implementation grants each year, on a competitive basis, to Smithsonian educators and
researchers to support new ideas or expand ongoing projects that have proven successful. “Research
shows that youth in undeserved rural regions often lack meaningful connections to and/or a deep
understanding of their local histories and traditions, fueling youth sentiments such as a lack of belonging
and an absence of purpose within their communities.”
The museum received the grant to work with students in local schools to help young people feel
appreciated by adults and adults recognize the talents and contributions of young people, increase
understanding of how their community contributes to U.S. history and ensure Smithsonian resources
were shared with people in rural places.
The project to date is not complete and has multiple components including final premiere viewing of the
documentary at our newly restored Melba Theater on Main Street in Batesville, AR, designing movie
posters in photoshop to post outside the theater, assisting the museum on an exhibit of local hometown
sports athletes and memorabilia, allowing each district to elaborate their footage to create their own
district’s documentary and finally compile all of our information, statistics and videos to present on the
economic impact of hometown sports to our community and state.
The team work between districts in collaborating, building community pride and working with
technology has brought our programs to new levels.