By Jean Strauber, Travel Editor
Are you a museum-goer? My latest edition of “Group Tour” magazine mentions quite a few that I thought I could share with you. Here’s a brief picture of several museums that you might want to consider visiting:
THE NASCAR HALL OF FAME:
Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, the NASCAR Hall of Fame opened in 2010 to celebrated the history and heritage of stock car racing. The 150,000-square-foot attraction is designed to educate and entertain you. One of several interactive exhibitions lets visitors find out just how difficult it is to change a tire during a pit stop. You will also find the “Glory Road,” (pictured above) a banked ramp simulating various racetracks and which showcases historic cars. The Glory Road mimics various levels of banking from zero to 33 degrees so visitors can experience what it’s like to walk on a banked track. For more information and detail go to www.nascarhall.com.
PGA MUSEUM OF GOLF:
Golfers will certainly like this one, the PGA Museum of Golf in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Formerly known as the PGA Historical CENTER, it was renamed the PGA Museum of Golf in conjunction with the PGA of America’s 95th anniversary. You’ll see displays that honor some of the great names in PGA of America history and other displays that tell the stories of some of the greatest events in golf, such as the PGA Championship Display and the Jock Hutchison Display. There’s also a multimedia area to watch highlights of the many championships conducted by The PGA of America, including the PGA Championship, the Ryder Cup and the Senior PGA Championship. For details go to www.pga.com. WOMEN’S
BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME:
This 32,000-square-foot museum celebrates the past, present and future of women’s basketball. At the Hall of Fame’s north end is the world’s largest basketball, weighing 10 tons and sitting atop a glass resembling a basketball net. Inside the museum (or Hall) you’ll find basketball artifacts, all with great stories behind them. You’ll see one of the original rule books from 1901, Theresa Edwards’ collection of medals, the bucket that the nuns beat on to make noise during Immaculata’s championship run in the 1970s and much more. In the State Farm Tip-Off theater, you will see Hoopful of Hope, a 17-minute video production covering the history of women’s basketball. The production features some of the all-time greats from the sport including players, coaches, and teams from AAU, collegiate, and professional organizations. Your visit will end in the “Hall of Honor,” where you’ll see the individuals who have been inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. For more details go to www.wbhof.com.
KENTUCKY DERBY MUSEUM:
Located on the grounds of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, the Kentucky Derby Museum is dedicated to the preserving the history of the Kentucky Derby and an American thoroughbred horse racing museum. When you visit the museum you’ll find two floors of exhibit space, including a 360-degree theater that shows the HD video “The Greatest Race.” Through the film and exhibits, you can learn what goes into breeding and training of a young foal and the path it takes to the Kentucky Derby’s winner circle. In the Warner L. Jones Time Machine you can watch any Kentucky Derby from 1918 to the present day. Exhibits highlight the stories of owners, trainers and jockeys. Interred on the grounds of The Museum are four past Derby winners whose original graves were threatened by land development. The 2006 Derby winner Barbarro is interred in a location just outside the museum so his admirers would not have to pay an admission fee. For more details go to www.derbymuseum.org.
THE INTERNATIONAL GAME FISH ASSOCIATION HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM:
Located in Dania Beach, Florida, the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum contains the world’s most comprehensive assemblage of sportsfishing information, exhibits, educational classes, fishing demonstrations, interactive displays and virtual reality fishing. This museum’s 60,000-square-foot home includes 170 species of game fish that earned world record status and are suspended overhead with informational plates on date of the catch, the angler and the place displayed on the floor under each fish. The largest mounted fish is Alfred Dean’s 2,664-pound great white shark caught in Australia in 1959. In addition the museum houses the E.K. Harry Library of Fishes which is a permanent repository for angling literature, history, films, art, photographs, and artifacts. For more information go to www.igfa.org.
NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MUSEUM:
Located in New Orleans, the National World War II Museum was founded by American historian Stephen Ambrose, who believed the U.S. needed a museum to honor the soldiers who gave their lives during the war. The museum vault currently houses more than 100,000 artifacts, including allied and Axis uniforms, weaponry, vehicles, medals, diaries, letters, artwork and photographs. Items include a PT-305 boat built by Higgins Industries, numerous artillery pieces, a German staff car and a Dodge ambulance. The Solomon Victory Theatre shows the 45-minute “fourdimensional” film Beyond All Boundaries. Upon entering the museum you’ll find a large atrium where aircraft and other items are suspended from the ceiling. Tours are self-guided and I recommend that you begin on the top floor and work your way down towards the ground floor. The museum devotes a special section to the Normandy Invasion and also a section on the Higgins Industries (of New Orleans) that designed and built the landing craft which General Eisenhower said won the World War II for the Allies.Throughout the museum you’ll find a variety of multi-media displays. There is a gift shop as well as dining facilities. For further information visit the www.nationalww2museum.org.
OGDEN MUSEUM OF SOUTHERN ART:
This museum is named after New Orleans real estate developer and philanthropist Roger Ogden who, in 1944, gifted his collection of about 1,200 works to the University of New Orleans. The permanent collection has now grown to more than 4,000 works through donations across the United States. Paintings, prints, watercolors, photos, ceramics, sculpture craft and design are among the media featured. In 2003 the Stephen Goldring Hall, a 47,000-square-foot, five-story glass and stone building houses the 20th and 21st century exhibitions, the art vault, administrative offices, the museum store and the Center for Southern Craft and Design. There are more than 25 galleries where exhibits are presented in a chronological and thematic manner. On the fifth floor there is a large hall with changing exhibitions that usually features major national traveling exhibitions. Recently opened is the second phase that showcases southern works of art from the 18th and 19th century. On Thursday nights, the museums hosts Ogden After Hours, a concert series that features blues, jazz, R & B, country, folk, rockabilly, Cajun, bluegrass, swamp pop and rock music. It is on these Thursday nights that Southern musicians have an opportunity to showcase their new work or break into the New Orleans music scene. For further details go to www.ogdenmuseumofsouthernart.org. Photo by Sean Busher, courtesy of NASCAR Hall of Fame