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Bedford, Heltonville, Oolitic Gyms Featured In New IHS Exhibit
Updated September 16, 2016 7:32 AM
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Extra practice hoops hang from the playing floor goal in the Oolitic gymnasium. Photograph copyright Michael E. Keating 2016
basketball 3.jpg
Dan Bush puts up a shot in the Oolitic gymnasium. Photograph copyright Michael E. Keating 2016
A sign welcomes visitors to Heltonville. Photograph copyright Michael E. Keating 2016

(UNDATED) - For more than 120 years, basketball has been one of Indiana's favorite pastimes.

All across the state there are gymnasiums filled with history, and a pair of photographers are helping to tell that history.

Lawrence County gyms are featured in a new photo exhibit from the Indiana Historical Society - The Hoosier Hardwood Photo Project: A Journey to Indiana's Historic High School Gyms.

The exhibit showcases the work of photographers Michael E. Keating and Chris Smith. They've logged more than 10,000 miles and photographed more than 130 gyms, watched countless hours of basketball and shot more than 150,000 digital frames.

"Every shot I do is kind of thought out; what's going to show off the gym and what's going to occur in this kind of framework?" Smith said of his photos.

Keating is a retired newspaper photographer with a passion for basketball.

"If there's a religion in Indiana it's basketball, and if there's a place where that religion is practiced it's in the gymnasiums." Keating added.

And each gym has its own story.

Smith came up with the project idea after finding an old picture of his father in high school.

"I could see the gym around it, and I started wondering, 'I wonder where that gym was, what happened to these guys,' and so I thought maybe it would be fun to go ahead and photograph some old gyms." Smith said.

And just like that the Hoosier Hardwood project was born.

The Hoosier Hardwood Photo Project opens Saturday, Oct. 1 and runs through Saturday, November 12, at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center in downtown Indianapolis. The exhibit is included with admission to the Indiana Experience, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

For more information about this exhibit, call (317) 232-1882 or visit IHS online.

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