Results tagged ‘ Education Gallery ’

Night at the Museum: Extra Innings

Light_90.jpgBy Steve Light

On Friday evening the Hall of Fame stayed open a little bit late for a group of young baseball players from Newtown, Conn. In fact, it never closed. The nine and ten-year-old ballplayers and their parents and coaches had a night to remember as they took part in the Hall’s Extra Innings Overnight program.

11-16-09-Light_Overnight.jpgArriving after the Museum had closed for the general public, the first task before each family was deciding which alcove in the Hall of Fame Gallery would serve as their sleeping quarters for the night. As a father and son Red Sox fan pairing searched out Carlton Fisk’s plaque, three Yankee fans settled for sleeping under Joe DiMaggio’s plaque once they found that they had been beaten to the “First Five Alcove” and Babe Ruth.

With the sleeping arrangements made, the group made their way upstairs to get their visit started with a special showing of The Baseball Experience in the Grandstand Theater. They then had the whole museum to themselves for the next two hours. It was difficult to tell who was more excited, the kids who had never been to the Hall of Fame or many of the parents whose last visit to Cooperstown came when they were just 10 years of age.

The group made their way through the museum, completing the Discovery Tour to claim their free pack of baseball cards. On the third floor the kids paused to take part in special activities. In Sacred Ground, they went on a cross-country virtual tour of ballparks old and new, while in the Education Gallery they learned how they put their knowledge of science to use each time they step to the plate. The evening closed out with a snack and entertainment in the Bullpen Theater. By 11:30, our guests were tired and it was time to sleep where baseball’s immortals live.

A light breakfast and one last look around the Hall of Fame Gallery and our visitors were on their way before the museum opened Saturday morning. But they didn’t stray too far, as many planned to take advantage of their free admission to visit the Museum Store and find out what the Hall looks like under the light of day.

This Friday, we welcome a group of members of the Hall of Fame for yet another after-hours experience of a lifetime. The Hall offers its Extra Innings Overnight program several times a year in March and November. You can visit our event calendar to find our upcoming dates, or call (607) 547-0312 for more information.

Stephen Light is manager of museum programs at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

A passion for the game

Francis_90.jpgBy Bill Francis

They came because of their love of baseball; they left with an enriched knowledge of the game.

More than 160 people from throughout the country converged on the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum from June 3-5 to attend the annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture. The 21st edition, with programs held in the Museum’s Grandstand Theater, Bullpen Theater and Education Gallery, featured more than 60 presenters on such wide-ranging topics as baseball in literature, baseball iconography, Babe Ruth and baseball in American dance.

6-8-09-Francis_Symposium.jpgHall of Fame Librarian Jim Gates, a co-coordinator of the event, said the total of this year’s attendees, who traveled from as far as Australia and Hawaii, surpassed the previous high watermark by approximately two dozen participants.

While most of the participants came from the world of academia, there were also two judges, a dentist, former big league first baseman Dan Ardell — who played seven games for the 1961 Los Angeles Angels — and Hugh Hewitt, who broadcast his nationally syndicated radio show from the from the Hall of Fame Library Atrium for two nights.

According to the Symposium’s other co-coordinator, Bill Simons, a history professor at the SUNY College at Oneonta who has participated in all 21 Symposium’s, this year’s was the best quality.

“We have some incredible people here from a variety of disciplines, and there’s a special dimension that you feel,” Simons said. “We have become a Symposium that welcomes new people, whether it is graduate students or women, which add a tremendous vitality. I think this is reflected in the quality of the presentations.

“We have built up a great history, and that history continues and goes forward,” he added. “This is the preeminent academic baseball conference.”

Keynote speaker Paul Dickson, who was at his first Symposium, opened the conference by talking about his work on the recently re-released Dickson Baseball Dictionary.

“It’s just been absolutely beyond my expectations,” said Dickson, who has published 55 books, including eight on baseball, and is currently working on a biography of Hall of Fame owner Bill Veeck. “There’s a great sense of camaraderie here. As a non-scholar, as a straight-up writer, I go to some scholarly events, and you are always considered the outsider, but here it’s just the opposite. They don’t check your Ph.D. at the door to make sure you’re part of the club. It’s a very welcoming, wonderful environment.

“Coming in, I thought it would be a little dryer. I didn’t realize there was going to be such vitality and spirit. And I thought the panel on Curt Flood and anti-trust on Thursday was the level of an Oxford debate.”

On Friday, as his three long days were coming to an end, Gates half-jokingly said he came up with an advertising slogan Thursday night: “This is the ultimate baseball geekfest.”

The annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, co-sponsored by the State University of New York College at Oneonta and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, examines the impact of baseball on American culture from inter- and multi-disciplinary perspectives.

Bill Francis is a library associate for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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