“Women in Basketball” opens to the public March 10 at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History.
The exhibition offers a look at the sport from the female perspective, featuring the stories of women who influenced the game from its start to today. Visitors will have a chance to experience women’s basketball from around 1900, including using a ball with a seam, and then shoot some hoops with modern rules and equipment.
Women started playing basketball soon after it was invented in 1891. Their rules, however, did not allow dribbling, jumping, running, pushing or stealing. Changes in women’s basketball reflected society’s trends and expectations of women. A college basketball game in the 1910s was more akin to a social gathering with a game played afterward. In the 1950s, it was not unusual for members of a traveling women’s team to participate in a beauty contest before the game.
All of that changed in 1972, with the passage of Title Nine. Title Nine requires educational institutions to offer female athletes the same opportunities as male athletes. Today, over 400,000 young women play high school basketball. They cannot imagine not being allowed to play and expect greater opportunities in college and professional leagues. “Women in Basketball” allows visitors to see the changes in the game and who they have to thank for them.
“Women in Basketball” was developed in partnership with the Frankfort Convention Center, which is hosting the 2012 NAIA Division I tournament. It will be on display through May 5.