Taking Another Shot

Ripley County officials to mark 60th anniversary of ‘Milan Miracle’

‘Hoosiers’ actors to help open
newly relocated museum

(June 2013) – Milan, Ind., will open its doors to fans from around the world to celebrate the town’s 160th birthday and the 60th anniversary of the famous Milan miracle with the grand opening June 8 of the new Milan ’54 Hoosier Museum. The museum captures life in the 1950s by celebrating one of the greatest stories in basketball – tiny Milan High School’s victory over giant Muncie Central in the 1954 Indiana basketball championship.

Roselyn McKittrick

Photo courtesy of
Katherine Taul

Roselyn McKittrick, curator of the Milan ’54 Hoosier Museum, has been busy preparing the new museum location for the June 8 grand opening.

No one expected a school with only 161 students to beat a school with 1,662, so David’s defeat of Goliath made basketball legend and inspired the movie, “Hoosiers,” considered one of the greatest sports movies of all time. For the grand opening most of the players from the 1954 championship team, “Hoosiers” writer Angelo Pizzo, and actors from the movie will gather with fans to meet each other and to step back in time as the new location transports visitors to the heyday of Indiana basketball.
On that day from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Milan will play host to a variety of activities celebrating the museum’s move to its new, expanded location in the former First Bank and Trust, located at 201 W. Carr St. Beginning with a car show featuring vehicles from the 1950s and ‘60s, the day will be packed with activities to bring Milan’s history to life.
At the high school, attendees can catch a viewing of the movie, “Hoosiers,” and take part in games from the 1950s and ‘60s. Also at the high school, organizers will unveil new banners commemorating the team’s championships.
Later in the morning, a parade, featuring players from the 1954 team as well as actors from the movie, winds through town finishing at the museum just in time for the ribbon cutting. In the afternoon, players, Pizzo, and the actors will offer autographs as well as one-on-one chats at the town hall. Entry to the event is $15 per person. Later that evening, attendees can sit down to dinner with the guests of honor at the Reservations Rest-aurant and then head to the sock-hop featuring the vocal talents of the American Kings Band.
Roselyn McKittrick, museum curator, said she can’t wait to welcome everyone to the new location. “Even if you’ve been here before, we have so much more space. It’s a new experience. We can now display all the memorabilia we’ve had in storage for years. Plus, we’ve acquired the ‘Hoosiers’ collection, including nearly all the uniforms worn in the movie along with props and other costumes. That makes quite an addition to the experience.”
She notes, “We’ve had people from all 50 states and from 25 foreign countries.”
McKittrick said she is eager to share all the new items with fans. The most recent additions came from an unexpected find in the storage area of the high school. “We found hundreds of telegrams from around the country congratulating the team on their victory which are now on display. We also found the trainer’s box used in all the games. Those are just the newest items of hundreds that bring the story to life,” said McKittrick.
Katherine Taul, executive director for Ripley County Tourism Bureau, organized the grand opening. While she’s excited about all the events, she highly recommends the dinner at Reservations Restaurant.
“Those attending will have the chance to sit down and talk with the players and those connected to the movie. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” says Taul, “to hear the stories straight from the players and ask whatever questions you want – all for only $54.”
The dinner is by reservation only; those interested can call Taul at 1-888-747-5394.
Marianne Wiggers, Milan Museum Board President, notes that the day is the culmination of years of work. “For years we were in the tiny barber shop. We owned the bank building but had no funds to renovate. After much fund raising and receiving grants, we’re now able to display the full collection. This story inspired people everywhere. People all over the country listened to the game live. They loved the story of these young men overcoming all sorts of obstacles to chase their dream – and get it.”
She continued, “We hear of high school and college coaches using this story and the movie to inspire their team to reach for their dreams. It’s a great message for people today.”
Records show that more than 40,000 people descended on Milan the day after the victory to celebrate. “People connected with the team then; we hope the new location will keep the connection alive,” says Wiggers.

• To see a full agenda for the day’s events, visit: www.RipleyCountyTourism.com, www.milan54.org or call 1-888-747-5394.

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