OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum hosts its first Family Activity Day of the summer on Saturday (July 23) with a fun-filled morning of art, learning and activities surrounding an Olympic Games theme.
Parents are invited to bring their children to the event, set for 10 a.m. to noon, which celebrates the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, coming up next month in Rio de Janeiro.
“With this summer’s spectacular exhibit of ‘Gods and Men,’ curated from our own Greek and Roman collection, a Summer Olympics Family Day seemed like an obvious and fun choice,” said Emily McCauley, the museum’s education curator. “We are thrilled to promote health and wellness through the collaboration with RebelWell and Campus Rec to put a modern spin on ancient athletic traditions.”
Through this partnership among the museum, Ole Miss Campus Recreation, RebelWell and Baptist Memorial Hospital, families can participate in indoor and outdoor activities including obstacle stations, a mythological creature gallery search and art activities inspired by the David M. Robinson Greek and Roman antiquities collection. Olympic-themed snacks will also be available.
“RebelWell is extremely grateful for the museum and their commitment to community wellness,” said Wendy Carmean, RebelWell project coordinator. “Partnerships with community-minded groups such as the UM Museum give RebelWell unique platforms and opportunities to promote wellness education and healthy habits to L-O-U children and parents on an ongoing basis that are active and fun.”
The Olympic Games were first held in 776 B.C. in Athens, Greece. Two hundred years later, the Pananthenaic Games were held in Athens every four years. Competitions such as sprinting, boxing, chariot racing and discus were among the contests open to all free men.
Unlike modern Olympics, these games were both a religious festival in honor of Zeus and an athletics event. First-place winners often were given a laurel wreath worn as a crown. In many cases, winners were honored in their home cities with free food for life, money or special privileges.
In the Panathenaic Games, victors were given a terra cotta jar, called an amphora, filled with high-quality olive oil as prizes. These jars were painted with illustrations of athletes or athletic competitions. Two amphoras are on display at the museum, one depicting a boxing scene and another showing an image of Athena in armor.
Other ancient Greek competition items in the collection include a marble inscription commemorating an Olympic victory; another marble inscription discussing privileges and crowns to be awarded at the Panathenaic Games; two lekythoi, which are oil flasks, picturing charioteers; a drinking cup, called a kylix, featuring boxers and a sprinter; and multiple coins featuring ancient competitions such as horse racing, boxing and discus throwing.
Thanks to a crowd-funding effort on Ignite Ole Miss, Family Activity Day is free for everyone.