Milan’s 1954 basketball team and their fans will be gathering in Milan Saturday, June 8, for the grand opening of the new Milan ’54 Hoosiers Museum. “Located in the former State Bank of Milan, 201 W. Carr St., the museum has more space than ever to showcase the memorabilia that has been collected over the years representing the 1954 Milan team that won over the much larger Muncie Central in the state basketball championship,” reports Katherine Taul, Ripley County Tourism Bureau executive director.
The stories about the team inspired Angelo Pizzo to write the script for the movie “Hoosiers.”
The events will kick off at 10 a.m. with a car show in the Milan High School parking lot, 609 Warpath Drive, featuring 1950-60s vehicles from the Hoosier Hills Car Club. Others are invited to bring their vehicles from that era as well.
A video will be shown in the MHS gym on the big screen from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. for a freewill donation. “Watch for details on what the show is about,” Taul suggests.
At 1 p.m., the unveiling of the original 1954 State Championship banners will be held in the gym. They were just restored with funding from the Rising Sun Regional Foundation.
Then a parade of floats carrying the 1954 team and any “Hoosiers” actors who are able to attend will go through town on Main and Carr streets. The director says, “Everyone is encouraged to line the streets and cheer them on, just like in 1954.”
The museum’s official ribbon cutting will be at 2 p.m. on the building’s steps. “We’re so excited to finally be at this point!” notes Marianne Wiggers, Milan ’54 board president, “Many people have worked for a very long time to make this happen, especially Roselyn McKittrick, who we greatly appreciate.”
An autograph session will be held from 2:30-4 p.m. in the Milan Town Hall on Carr Street. Those wanting autographs can pick up items to get autographed in the museum or at the session. The cost for those wanting autographs is $15 per person, with the funds going to help support the museum.
Gayle Johnson, author of “The Making of Hoosiers, How a Small Movie from the Heartland Became one of America’s Favorite Films,” will be there to sell and sign her book.
Games for all ages will be held from 2:30-5:30 p.m. on the street in front of the museum, which will be closed to traffic. MHS Student Council and National Honor Society members are organizing the games, which are sponsored by the Ripley County Community Foundation. Chris and Laura Ault, Batesville, will also be on hand to share their knowledge of ‘50s dances to prepare visitors for the evening sock hop.
A museum fundraising dinner is scheduled for 5:30-7 p.m. at the Reservation Restaurant, Milan. Fans can enjoy a sit-down, special menu dinner with the 1954 team and movie actors, hearing the banter between teammates and chatting with them. Seating is limited. Reservations at $54 per person must be made by May 28 by calling the Ripley County Tourism Bureau at 888-747-5394.
“Get your good socks out for a special sock hop at the Milan High School gym,” Taul urges. Cincinnati’s American Kings Band will be on hand to perform early rock ’n’ roll tunes from 7-9 p.m. Freewill donations will be accepted for the museum. The dance is being sponsored by the Ripley County Tourism Bureau.
More information on the day’s events is available by calling the Ripley County Tourism Bureau, 888-747-5394, or www.ripleycountytourism.com. Information about the Milan ’54 Hoosiers Museum is available at www.milan54.org or calling 812-654-2772.