FEDERALSBURG — The Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibit, “Hometown Teams — How Sports Shape America,” is in its final week on display at the Federalsburg Historical Society.
The display closes Saturday, May 23. The display is at the Federalsburg Area Heritage Museum, located at 100 Covey-Williams Alley in downtown Federalsburg.
The Maryland Humanities Council selected the Federalsburg Historical Society after the society submitted an application to be a Smithsonian Institution Hometown Teams host site. Federalsburg is one of five sites to receive the Smithsonian exhibit and the only town on the Eastern Shore.
The Smithsonian Institution exhibition explores sports, athletes and artifacts from local towns that have become an integral part of each community. The Federalsburg Historical Society also collected Caroline County sports artifacts and created displays at the museum.
Visitors also will experience companion exhibits celebrating Federalsburg’s Soap Box derby and baseball legacy. Federalsburg hosts the annual Delmarva Soap Box Derby each June. Racers from all over Delmarva compete for a chance to earn a berth in the World Soap Box Derby Championships in Akron, Ohio.
Colonel Richardson High School art teacher Marjorie Scott helped create the Soap Box Derby exhibit.
In 2014, Preston native Caden Pollard won the Stock Class while Mollie Compher of Berlin won the Super Stock Class and Federalsburg native Philip Struble won the new Super Kids Class.
The Soap Box Derby exhibit features cars hanging from the ceiling in a large front room. Children will be able to climb in and out of a real Soap Box Derby car.
All will be able to view a black-and-white video featuring American professional baseball infielder and manager Ducky Detweiler, and see what the Federal Park ballfield looked like until the late 1940s, when the team left town.
Detweiler came to Federalsburg in 1939, played in the Eastern Shore League and met his wife. In 1940 and 1941, he advanced to double-A in Evansville, Ind., where he had a 41-game hitting streak. In 1942, he was called up to the major leagues with the Boston Braves and his first manager was Casey Stengel.
The next year, he was drafted into the military and was gone at war for three years. When we came back, he played some for the Braves then came back to play in Federalsburg from 1946 until 1949. He then went on to manage teams in the South Atlantic League, which is the league the Delmarva Shorebirds play in.
The museum also features exhibits for the 2004 South Caroline Little League team that earned a berth in the Little League World Series, various pictures and newspaper clippings from Colonel Richardson High School sports and an exhibit honoring the high school’s marching band, which won 12 of 13 Maryland State Group 1 titles under the direction of band director Earl Jester from 1988 to 2001.
Two of the school’s most decorated athletes, Kim Brooks, Class of 1978, and Jimmy Escalante, Class of 1995, also have exhibits at the museum.
Brooks earned a state title and still holds the state 1A record in the long jump at 19 feet, 6 inches. Escalante was a switch-hitting catcher who was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 1996 Amateur Draft. He played 13 seasons of professional baseball and coached for seven years with the Oakland A’s organization.
Federalsburg Historical Society Board President Richard Wheatley was co-chairman on the Hometown Teams committee with Wendy Garner, and Donna Glime is the Federalsburg Historical Society president.
The Federalsburg Historical Society will be open for visitors to see the exhibits from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday though Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
For more information about the Smithsonian Institution exhibit, visit www.historicfederalsburg.org or call 410-924-7573.