Roller Derby exhibition opens March 14

Austin and Texas at epicenter of modern derby resurgence

MARCH 5, 2015 (AUSTIN, TX) — If you know what the terms "jammer," "hip check," and "can-opener" mean, then chances are you're part of the growing fan base for the popular contact sport of roller derby. A new exhibition opening March 14, 2015 at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas, examines contemporary popular culture and the role of women in contact sports through singular artifacts, historical photographs and personal stories.

"Roller Derby is about hard-hitting action and big personalities, and this exhibition really provides a sense of that," Bullock Museum Director Dr. Victoria Ramirez said. "Museum visitors will get to see one-of-a-kind, customized boutfits up-close, as well as historical roller derby artifacts, and even create their own roller derby names. This is an opportunity for people to immerse themselves in the roller derby experience and learn what the sport and culture are all about."

Texans have been roller skating since the 1880s, but the sport of roller derby didn't begin until the 20th century. Originally founded in Chicago in the 1930s, today's fast-paced, high-impact modern incarnation of roller derby began in Austin.

"Austin is the epicenter of modern roller derby — it was founded here in 2001," skater and Guest Curator ErinMcClelland said. "Juliana Gonzales, executive director of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association who skates as 'Bloody Mary' for the Texas Rollergirls, pointed out to me that she meets people from all over the world who know the role Austin played in the roller derby revival, but often locals don't have any idea. This exhibition gives Texans a chance to learn about the city's significance in the recent history of the sport."

Today, Texas boasts approximately 47 leagues, and skilled skaters can be found on flat and banked tracks around the world. In this exhibition, visitors will see dynamic large-scale graphics, immersing them in a roller derby "bout." Uniforms, posters, and other items from both flat track and banked track leagues will be featured.

Roller Derby will be in the museum's third-floor Rotunda Gallery, which includes a newly renovated exhibition space where the earliest roller derby artifacts, images, and uniforms dating to the 1930s will be displayed, along with media footage from that era.

Modern roller derby and its resurgence will be highlighted through artifacts, uniforms, photos, media footage, and more as visitors are immersed in a roller rink environment with life-sized images of skaters and fans so they can experience first-hand the fierce rivalries, the thrill of the bout, and the speed of a whip.

Explore the What's Your Derby Name? interactive and share your derby name on Twitter using hashtag #BullockDerby. Roller Derby is organized by the Bullock Museum. For more information, visit

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The Bullock Texas State History Museum in downtown Austin includes three floors of exhibitions, an IMAX® theater, a special-effects theater, café, and Museum Store. The Museum collaborates with more than 700 museums, libraries, archives and individuals to display original historical artifacts and produce exhibitions that illuminate and celebrate Texas history and culture. Named for the state's 38th Lieutenant Governor, Bob Bullock, the iconic building is at 1800 N. Congress Avenue. For more, visit or call (512) 936-8746.