The traveling Hometown Teams exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution is now open to the public in its latest home in Aurora. Celebrated with a ribbon-cutting event last Saturday, the exhibit will be in town until January 27 at 118 East Church Street.

Hosting this exhibit are the Houn’ Dawg Alumni an Outreach Center, in cooperation with the Missouri Humanities Council and the Smithsonian as part of the Museum on Main Street program. Co-hosting this special event is Shawn Darst of Darst Heating and Cooling in Aurora, owner of the building in which the exhibit is housed.

Aurora was selected by the Missouri Humanities Council last year to host “Hometown Teams” as part of the Museum on Main Street program a national, state and local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations as a free service to the public.

Locally, several community partners have stepped forward to help promote and provide the needs entailed in hosting such an event. Co-directors at the local level are Kim McCully-Mobley and Brad Boettler. Additional committee members include Marcia Sadler, Michele Parbury, Jack Muench, Paul Ward, Bob Journagan, Drew McNatt, Shawn Darst and Jake McCully. Additional partners are the Aurora Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Aurora, First Independent Bank, Community National Bank, Arvest Bank, Darst Heating and Cooling, Aurora Rotary, The Aurora Advertiser, Liberty Utilities/Empire District Electric, KSWM/KKBL Radio, Houn’ Dawg Sports, Pettit and Pettit Law Offices, Service Vending, Newbold and Newbold, Journagan True Value, Parkway Hardware, Hogtide Barbecue, the Youth Empowerment Project and Drury Dual Credit Leadership class in cooperation with Aurora Schools.

The schedule for the exhibit is during designated hours on Fridays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. through the weeks that it is in town.

“This is a great opportunity to showcase our town, its rich history, its colorful people and our determination to share, preserve, protect and promote our stories in a variety of ways,” stated McCully-Mobley.

The exhibit focuses on both a national and local level with over-arching themes like Sports and Culture, fan experiences, player experiences, and new sports that seem to crop up around the country. Parking is available during the exhibit at the Arvest Bank parking lot just east of the Darst facility.

Several additional exhibits are also on display throughout the community to help tell Aurora’s story, which often is anchored in the Houn’ Dawg history of the popular military mascot that dates back to the early 1900s. By the 1920s, the school had claimed the mascot, too. Additional highlights of local history include exhibition games by the Kansas City Monarchs, patriotic efforts during World Wars I and II and additional vintage sports items, baseball cards and celebrities who have embraced the community’s colorful history.

Groups, classes and individuals wanting to schedule private tours can email kmobley@aurorar8.org or call 229-2094 and leave a message.