A Museum Like No Other

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There is something interesting about sports that we don’t often consider. Sports connects to our lives in so many ways—not the expected lessons of teamwork, competition and learning how to win and lose. But, to physics. Biology. History. Race relations. Medicine. International relations. Law. Politics. And much more.  Thus, sports can be used as the connective tissue to provide a broad and vast story about all aspects of our world.

The American Sports Museum will combine memorabilia, stories and lessons in a manner in which it has not been done before in a cultural institution or any environment. 

For example, in the baseball gallery, maybe you'll see Babe Ruth’s mitt and also learn the physics of a curve ball.  In the football gallery, relive Super Bowls past and also learn what an ACL is, what happens when it tears, and how it heals.  In the Olympics gallery, touch a real gold medal and hear about the 1968 Black Power salute or the Munich Massacre.  In the auto racing gallery, sit behind the wheel of a real NASCAR car and learn how a combustion engine works.  And so on.  The possibilities are limitless. 

Disrupting the modern museum
Over the last 10-20 years, the world’s economy has been—and continues to be in explosive fashion—radically transformed. Industries from retail to personal transportation to financial services to healthcare and countless others have undergone nothing short of a revolution. 

Not museums.

Most museums are still housed in early 20th century buildings, and many are still managed with 20th century methods. They are about objects, not experiences. They give information, but don’t tell stories. They teach, but they don’t excite. They view technology as a necessary evil.

Museums have an absolute role to improve communities. They have a responsibility to supplement primary and secondary education. And they can provide jobs and other economic benefits to its host city. But, the future museum looks different than the ones to which we are accustomed. 

The American Sports Museum (ASM) will attempt to show the country what disruption in this field looks like and will help define what the partnership between schools, museums and communities will look like for the next century.

Sports are the bait
Sports unite us. Sports excite us. Sports are our passion. 

More than that, sports can open our minds to something else. They can be the bait that draws people in and leads them to a far greater experience. Sports can bring people in to see something they love, but lead to an even greater experience that opens their eyes to much, much more.

The U.S. does not have a great sports museum. We have individual sport halls of fame, but nothing that brings all sports under one roof—and certainly, not in the manner we propose. 

It will be a place not just to “walk, look and read,” but rather a venue that marries objects, knowledge, stories and interactivity in a truly engaging and exciting manner.

It will be a public-serving museum, using the latest tools of education, storytelling, and beautiful design to address some of our most interesting and pressing issues. 

Quite simply, the US does not have a sports museum on this scale.  Yes, we have great halls of fame, but none that serve multiple interests -- and certainly none that propose to combine America’s love of sports with learning on such a wide variety of topics. 

A few examples of just a few of the type of limitless sports/learning combinations:

Baseball Gallery: Physics of a curve ball; how a radar gun works; the dangers of steroids; wood vs. metal bats; what is it like to face a 100MPH fastball? What’s inside a baseball and why?

Football: How a broken tibia heals; How much food do they need at the Super Bowl? What is the economic impact of a major sports team on a city?

Basketball: What muscles help people jump higher? How does our brain make our legs jump? How does air pressure affect a basketball? 

Hockey: What happens when you lose a tooth by force?  How do they make all that ice and keep it frozen? How a Zamboni works.

Golf: How that little ball travels so far; Racism and sexism in golf and country clubs.

Olympics - Politics and the Olympics (Nazis, Jessie Owens, 1968 Black Power Salute, American Boycott in 1980; Munich Massacre); caloric intake for swimmers; swimming suit technology.

Tennis: What is tennis elbow? Why do graphite racquets make the ball go faster than the old wooden racquets?  Why do so many players grunt?

Auto Racing: The first race car vs. today’s race car; Fire protection in auto racing; how a car’s combustion engine works.

Boxing: The growing epidemic of concussions; Muhammad Ali’s protest of the Vietnam war.

Health & Fitness:  Why exercise matters; how lungs work; nutrition.

Lessons from Sports movies: League of Their Own (gender equality); Eight Men Out (crime in sports); Remember the Titans (race relations in the 1960s and 1970s); Moneyball (statistics)

Sports we don’t play in the US:  Cricket; curling; Sumo wrestling, others.