Penn State All-Sports Museum marks 10 years
As the Penn State All-Sports Museum moves into its 10th anniversary year in 2012, several exciting events are planned to highlight both the museum as well as Penn State student athletes’ athletic achievements over the last decade. Covering 10,000 square-feet over two levels, the museum is a testament to the success and dedication of Penn State student-athletes both on the field and in the classroom.
Part of the latest expansion of Beaver Stadium, the museum opened its doors in February 2002 and allows visitors to become immersed in the Penn State experience as they hear the resonant melodies of the Blue Band, the roar of the crowd, and view film of the greatest moments in Penn State sports history.
Kicking off on Blue-White Weekend 2012 (April 20-22), the museum’s anniversary celebration will begin with the opening of a special exhibit drawn from the collection of George Henning as well as two days of open house events (6:30 to 9 p.m. on April 21, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 22). These will include a variety of tours, games and other celebratory events throughout the museum’s galleries. As the year progresses, the museum will offer a unique speaker series.
The 10th anniversary also will see the launch of a new system of interactive touchscreens in the museum’s galleries. These will allow visitors to search through the past to find former athletes, coaches and staff, as well as will provide a wealth of season-by-season information including a variety of audio and video clips. These new touchscreens will be spread throughout the galleries, which currently feature separate exhibits for each of Penn State’s varsity sports including three that have been discontinued: rifle, boxing and bowling.
Over the last decade, the museum has seen its collection grow as a variety of generous donors have contributed artifacts and other items. Some highlights include the Nittany Lion mascot suit worn by Doug Skinner (class of 1988) at the 1987 Fiesta Bowl, a 1909 baseball jersey used by Leo Skemp (class of 1909), and a player trophy from the 1948 Cotton Bowl belonging to Wally Triplett (class of 1948). The last 10 years also have seen several additions to the museum’s exhibits including areas for recognizing Penn State’s Academic All-Americans, broadcasters and writers, Olympians, and other notable achievements.
As the museum has grown, it has developed an expanding slate of programming for the community. In addition to interactive, guided tours led by members of the museum’s trained docent corps, visitors and groups can take advantage of annual speaker series which focus on themes like Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and other special topics such as the Olympics and FIFA World Cup. Recent speakers have included Charlie Pittman, ABC/ESPN’s Lisa Salters, and former coach Walter Bahr. The museum has also developed a tour program for Beaver Stadium, offered on several dates each year. In recent years, the museum also has taken elements of its programming offsite and has been an active participant in both the Central PA 4th Fest and the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts.
As a growing institution, the museum has long relied on a dedicated corps of volunteers to achieve its mission. Volunteers work in a variety of roles ranging from monitoring galleries and serving as trained docents to aiding in developing exhibits and cataloguing collections. For those who wish to be part of the institution but might not have the time to volunteer, the museum offers the Friends of the Penn State All-Sports museum. A support group for the museum, Friends members receive a variety of benefits including priority scheduling for stadium tours, invitations to special events, free admission to the museum, as well as a discount at the Penn State Bookstore. For more information on volunteering or becoming a member of the Friends, visit the museum’s website.
The Penn State All-Sports museum is located at the southwest corner of Beaver Stadium (opposite the Bryce Jordan Center). Call 814-865-0044 or visit http://www.gopsusports.com/museum for more information. Admission to the museum is a suggested donation of $5 for adults and $3 for children, students and seniors.