Author Archive

Job Perks

July 19, 2009

Induction weekend is fast approaching and the latest estimates have attendance between twenty and thirty thousand. Since the Hall of Fame doesn’t sell tickets to the event, there is no way to actually know how many people are coming to Cooperstown, but I’m sure it will be higher than last year (Goose Gossage) and lower than 2007 (Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn). Red Sox fans will show up to support Jim Rice and who doesn’t love Rickey Henderson? He’s the all-time stolen bases leader and there is a very real possibility that he will do his induction speech in third person! I’ll be helping with set up and take down all weekend, which I’m okay with. Keeps me away from any visitor services type responsibilities.

I was planning to post on a different blog entry, one I had written for the Hall of Fame website, but unfortunately it has been pushed back until August. They asked me to write about a recently accessioned object, and I researched a baseball signed by the Detroit Tigers replacement team, recruited in the spring of 1995 during the big strike. Everyone liked it, but PR decided they only wanted publish happy things without any hint of controversy in the weeks leading up to Induction Weekend. I guess I understand the decision, but it’s still annoying. As long as it hasn’t been permanently nixed I’ll be happy.

Before I go, here are a few pictures from one of my happiest days working at the Hall of Fame.

Maddux Jersey
Jersey worn by Greg Maddux when he recorded his 3,000th strikeout.

Wood's Hat
The better quality picture is on the computer at work, but this one will do. This hat was worn by Kerry Wood on May 6, 1998, when he struck out 20 batters, matching the major league record and setting the National League record for strikeouts in a single game. This event is my first happy baseball memory.

Just one of the perks that comes with the job.

Dr. Matt Destruction’s Song to Sing-Along to: “Daylight” by Matt & Kim
BONUS TRACK: “The Legionnaire’s Lament” by The Decemberists

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Don’t Shoot the Messenger

June 20, 2009

The curatorial department has me writing text for three small exhibits, plus updating the records room, so that I can get some practice in label writing. It’s pretty straight forward stuff, usually between 50 and 80 words, but I am surprised at the amount of pressure I’ve been feeling while I write them. Where does this pressure come from you ask? Is it the curatorial staff? The president of the Hall of Fame? Is it the ghost of Enos Slaughter (best ballplayer name EVER) or my fear of ruining CGP’s reputation? Nope, it’s the visitors.

I have never been to a museum where the visitors are so quick to criticize or correct the exhibit text and to be honest, it’s great. The curatorial department has to triple check even the smallest facts because we know that as soon as it goes up, a visitor is going to notice if we’ve gotten something. Since objects are constantly coming to us, we have to work quickly, but we cannot sacrifice quality. If they do find a mistake or have some grievance, they are encouraged to leave a message with the curatorial staff and somebody actually calls them back to discuss the issue. Now sometimes the complaints are ridiculous, but for the most part they are taken seriously and dealt with quickly.

I’m not only impressed with the curators willingness to talk to the public, but also the willingness of the pubic to talk to the curators and have a say in the museum. What’s most interesting is that there is no facebook or twitter page for these discussions or even a sign that says, “Complaints? Please see one of our docents.” Perhaps the subject of baseball and the environment of the HoF are enough to encourage discussion.

I thought I would include screenshots of some labels I’m working on. Again, nothing fancy.

recent donations intro

carter 09-11-34

I also decided to take some pictures of my workspace yesterday. Unfortunately, my camera died and the memory card filled up after a few random pictures. So no desk shot or one of me working. Enjoy these anyway.

DSCF0267

DSCF0266

Hope all is well in your corner of the world. Keep kicking ass.

Dr. Matt Destruction’s Song to Sing-Along to: “Heads Will Role” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Cooperstown Perk #1

June 12, 2009

Rally Cap

Minor league baseball games with Will “Rally Cap” Walker. Let’s go B-Mets!

Dr. Matt Destruction’s Sing-Along Blog

June 2, 2009

With Monday being orientation day for all of the Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program participants (and yes, you must call the internship program by its full name), Tuesday was my first day of actual work. I can only imagine how different my internship will be from the rest of yours. It’s a very planned out program with professional seminars, weekly reports, and other leadership building activities. Most of the other interns are actually undergrad sports management majors, who seem nice, but enough of them didn’t know what “curatorial” meant to make me very glad that I’m the only intern in my department.

Speaking of the curatorial department, John Odell (Curator of History and Research) has lined up a lot of great projects for me. I’ll be doing an artifact spotlight presentation, which is when a staff member brings out objects not on display and lets the public get a close up look. I picked a Ted Williams limited edition G.I. Joe to talk about pop culture and baseball. I’ll also be starting the research on a new exhibit about baseball records, writing for their quarterly publication, writing labels for the exhibit “Scribes and Mikemen”, and editing the museum script. Those are just the major projects. They are really trying to get their moneys worth with me.

I got to see the Hall of Fame’s new exhibit, “Viva Baseball”, for the first time. It opened last weekend, but I haven’t had a chance to look at it till today. It was a very interesting look at the role of Latin American players and the way baseball is played in their home countries. The best part about the exhibit is that it is completely bilingual. The Hall of Fame doesn’t have many Spanish-speaking visitors, but I think that having Spanish labels shows respect to the culture of the players they are talking about. There is an interactive panel about making it to the major leagues, and it asks for English speaking visitors to figure out what the Spanish speaking manager is telling them to do. It’s just some flip panels, but it spoke to the difficulty many Hispanic players have when the come to play baseball in America and have an English speaking manager.

interactive

That’s all that’s really happened so far. I’m sure I’ll have more to talk about as summer camp, I mean my internship, rolls along. Oh yeah, wait till you see pictures of my uniform. I look sexy in stone colored slacks. Mmm mmm mmm.

I wanted to post an mp3 with each post, but I’m not about to pay for a space upgrade. So you’ll just have to enjoy my music picks and download them illegally yourself.

Dr. Matt Destruction’s Song to Sing-Along to: “Song for Myla Goldberg” by The Decemberists