Being so close to Cooperstown and being a huge baseball fan, it’s obvious that I’d have interest in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Truth be told, I’m a fan of most Hall of Fames. I love the history of sports and such, so it’s always nice to see all the differences in how the stories are presented. If all goes well this summer, I plan on hitting several different ones during some baseball trips.
I can cross the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts off the list.
Before I get into the actual Hall, let me reiterate that I am spoiled by having the Baseball Hall so close. It’s the bar when it comes to Hall of Fames. The Soccer Hall of Fame used to be nearby, too, but it has long since been gone and is a traveling road show. That Hall wasn’t bad, but it was lacking. The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame (when it was in Amsterdam) was … lacking. The Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota was solid and I enjoyed my time there. The Little League Museum in Williamsport was excellent.
There are others I need to see – football, hockey, Rock and Roll etc. – but being spoiled with Cooperstown sometimes makes it tough when visiting others.
Let me preface this by saying while I don’t dislike basketball, it’s also not my favorite sport. I went into this with lower expectations (based on a few of the recent Halls I have visited) and I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did it do a nice job with history, but there is a lot of interactive activities and a lot about the modern game, too.
On top of it all – it covers not only professional, but college and other amateur basketball. I really like that as it shows the history in more ways than say the NBA.
The layout of the Hall was nice. I liked a lot of the artifacts. It told a pretty good story with the history of the game. That’s always a good thing. I liked that there was a media/broadcast area, but would have liked to have seen that expanded a little bit more.
The bottom floor of the Hall has a basketball court where people were consistently shooting hoops, which made sense. There were a few other interactive things throughout the Hall, which is a good thing. Sometimes kids just don’t want to stroll around the historical parts, so this gives them a break.
One of my favorite areas was where they had information about coaches. Very cool stuff.
There were a few cons, though. The artifacts on the top floor (Hall of Famers) weren’t always in the best way. There’s room in some of the cases where they could move something higher to let people get a better look or photograph. It’s disappointing when something looks like it’s fallen off a holder, or could be moved up higher and it’s just kind of there.
Though I understand – and appreciate – how the Hall of Famers were presented, having them all well above people makes it hard to see them. Looking up constantly isn’t very comfortable. And it appears that unlike other Hall of Fames, there are no plaques or busts etc., for the Hall of Famers. Though I liked how it was presented with information low to be able to read, I like the elegance and such of having something that feels more “eternity” when it comes to a Hall of Famer. The Plaque Gallery in Cooperstown, for example, is a spot I always spend considerable time in when I visit there.
In the end, I did enjoy the Hall and the price tag (about $21 with an AAA discount) wasn’t too bad, all things considered. There was plenty of parking and it wasn’t too hard to get to, even with all the construction in the area. If you are a fan of sports history, or like basketball, I’d definitely recommend making the stop if you are nearby.
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