Baseball Hall of Fame Exhibit Is A Home Run
With one-of-a-kind memorabilia and content from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. and a cool interactive component and feel, the Hall of Fame Tour at Modern Woodmen Park hit a home run with me and my son when we went to see it this week.
The exhibit is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday in the parking lot adjacent to Modern Woodmen Park. Tickets are $29 for adults, $25 for 60-over and military, $20 for students 11-over and $13 for kids 4-10.
Sean Leary and his son Jackson enjoyed checking out the Hall of Fame exhibit in Davenport.
When you first walk up into the event, it seems much smaller and less impressive than it actually is. But that’s because so much of the exhibit is technologically expansive and deeper than you would ever expect.
Each of the five exhibit rooms you enter goes beyond the mere showcasing of memorabilia – although some of that swag, particularly a Honus Wagner baseball card worth over a million dollars, a baseball from the 1860s and a glove used by Cy Young – is especially impressive. But it’s the engagement of the imagination and the creativity inherent in the exhibit, the interactive components at each stop, that are most engaging.
There are a plethora of games for kids to play, from baseball card matching to having your picture inserted into a famous scene from baseball history to having your picture put on a plaque for the Hall. It’s all cool, and it provides a lot of fun for kids and adults alike.
My son and I spent roughly 90 minutes going through all of the rooms and seeing the 12 minute IMAX film “We Are Baseball,” and we thoroughly enjoyed it, although certainly were impressed by some aspects more than others.
The Stories of Diversity trailer offers a number of fascinating stories and biographies of players from Roberto Clemente to Jackie Robinson to Ichiro, but actually one of the most interesting videos to my son and I was the story of the one-armed players of the game, including, most recently, Jim Abbott, who pitched a no-hitter for the Yankees. Baseball is a tough enough game to play, particularly from the hitting and pitching perspective, so it’s all the more amazing to see these players having to endure what would seem to be an insurmountable handicap yet still succeeding. It’s incredibly inspiring.
The Hall of Fame trailer offers you the opportunity to see any HOF player’s plaque and to create one of your own, which my son and I did, much to our amusement. And the memorabilia trailer has a pretty impressive array of treasures representing the game’s more iconic players including Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson.
Easily, the coolest room is the virtual reality room. You enter into an inauspicious lair and once you put on the special VR goggles and headset you’re transported right into the thick of things in a variety of baseball scenarios – you’re batting in a game, you’re playing, you’re at spring training, you’re visiting a pitcher on the mound, etc. The technology is fantastic and it’s not only terrifically fun and immersive, but it also features players from the widest variety of teams.
That actually brings up a quibble I have with one element of the exhibit – it’s not especially democratic in regard to team coverage. My son and I are White Sox fans, and there was very little in regard to our preferred team. On the other hand, there seemed to be quite a bit devoted to the Cubs, Mets, Yankees and especially the Boston Red Sox, who seemed to be featured multiple times in each room. Given that this is a nationally touring exhibit and not something ensconced in New England, it would’ve been nice to have seen something more diverse.
But that said, just as a fan of the sport, you’re bound to enjoy it. We definitely did. My eight-year-old and I would very much recommend it. Check it out before it leaves town next weekend.