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Skating in the 20th Century and Beyond

Step through the 20th century and beyond to see the highs and lows of roller skating!

Roller skating’s widespread popularity has waxed and waned many times throughout its long history as one of the USA’s favorite recreational activities. Skating in the 20th Century and Beyond explores five decades, including today, that stand out as points of excitement in the history of roller skating. NMRS invites you to see the impact of various events in the 20th century influenced and were influenced by roller skating.

Included in this exhibit are displays highlighting:

When Skating Goes to War:

World War II touched every part of American life including roller skating. Skaters faced equipment and parts shortages and rinks dealt with blackouts and problems organizing regional competitions. Many young men and women hung up their skates and joined the military or took jobs in factories; some gave their lives.

Skating for Others:

Working together, skaters and rink owners have raised millions of dollars for a number of causes. These include disabled veterans in the 1940s, polio in the 1940s and 50s, heart disease in the 1960s and 1980s, and muscular dystrophy in the 1970s and 80s. And these were not the only charities skating supported.

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