New traveling exhibition explores the history of Latinos and baseball

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New traveling exhibition explores the history of Latinos and baseball
Roberto Clemente working off-season with kids in Carolina, Puerto Rico, 1962. Courtesy of The Clemente Museum.

WASHINGTON, DC.- “¡Pleibol! In the Barrios and the Big Leagues / En los barrios y las grandes ligas,” a new bilingual exhibition showcasing the history and culture of Latinos through the lens of baseball, will launch its national tour Jan. 23 at the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History. The exhibition is organized by the National Museum of American History in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). It received support from the Cordoba Corporation and federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.

The traveling version of the exhibition will visit 15 cities through 2025, allowing host organizations to highlight local stories through the inclusion of objects from their collections. A full version of the exhibition featuring objects, artifacts and photos is expected to open in Washington, D.C., at the National Museum of American History in late spring or early summer. As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are temporarily closed to the public.

“¡Pleibol! In the Barrios and the Big Leagues / En los barrios y las grandes ligas” captures the excitement of the game, from community baseball teams to the Major League, highlighting how the game can bring people together regardless of race, class or gender. It will feature graphic elements of historical and personal photographs as well as a bilingual video and a separate soundscape produced in collaboration with TeamWorks Media’s “La Vida Baseball” team. QR codes throughout the exhibition provide visitors with more information about signature objects included in a virtual gallery developed as part of the 3D Digitization project in collaboration with the Smithsonian Latino Center and the SI Digitization Program Office.

“¡Pleibol! In the Barrios and the Big Leagues/En los barrios y las grandes ligas,” has been made possible through close collaborations with more than 30 partners in 14 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico to help bring visibility to Latino community histories through baseball. In a series of collecting and preservation events between 2015 and 2018, communities shared stories, pictures and artifacts with the museum’s curatorial team.

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play.

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