Friday, September 24, 2004

Take me out to the museum

The Baseball Hall of Fame’s Baseball As America will be ending its Washington DC run on October 3. It’ll move on to St. Louis next. Here’s the tour schedule. We’re lucky to be in a time when exhibit design is at a peak- improvements in technology allow designers to realize beautiful visuals, while the research into how people learn best has led to some great ideas in interactive exhibits, involving touch, sound and video as well as text. The exhibit design in Baseball As America is excellent both visually and contentwise. If you’ve been to Cooperstown, you’ve probably seen most of the exhibit’s objects. Our favorite highlights were the Honus Wagner card, the letters to Hank Aaron from supporters and from racists (very touching and chilling), and an awesome, detailed scrapbook made by two young brothers in the 1900s. Leave yourself plenty of time, the exhibit covers a lot. We caught it during its run at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (no, we don’t know why it’s at the Natural rather than American History), with our baseball guru, Hector. Here’s his report:
Beyond a seven-foot chicken lay the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s exhibit on baseball this summer. It offered images to observe, descriptions to read and artifacts to grasp – a gala showing-off of the sport’s history, artwork and physics.
Hands-on encounters with baseball’s artifacts highlighted the gala.
Patrons squeezed the handle of bats that the famous swung, whether it was Ed Roush’s bulky club or Rod Carew’s nimble twig.
Children learned how to grip a pitch for a four-seam fastball, a curve, a change-of-pace and a knuckleball. Fortunately for safety’s sake, no one had to worry about errant throws or pick-up contests – the horsehides anchored, the bats securely strung to the wall.
In addition, the exhibit presented a lot for the eye to behold.
How about a large original Norman Rockwell painting? He illustrated umpires weary of rain while the two managers bickered at ol’ Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, NY.

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