The National Museum of American Jewish History Presents Chasing Dreams: Baseball And Becoming American, On View Through October 26

Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American is now open at the National Museum of American Jewish history, and will remain on view throughout baseball season to relay tales of such iconic players as Hank Greenberg. (Photo at top by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia; others donated by Corbis/courtesy NMAJH)

Ready to play ball, Philadelphia?

Now open at the National Museum of American Jewish History, Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American offers the first large-scale look at the role baseball has played in the lives and cultures of many American minority groups.

Rising five stories above Independence Mall, in the heart of historic Philadelphia, the National Museum of American Jewish History is a fitting place for a museum to explore the promise and challenges of liberty through the lens of the American Jewish experience — and now through the lens of America’s favorite pastime.

With more than 130 objects, interactive elements and amazing photography, Chasing Dreams highlights the contributions of not only game-changing players but also the fans, owners, promoters and others who had influence on the evolution of the game.

Read on for background, specifics and special events regarding this marquee exhibition.

The Exhibition

 
Running throughout baseball season, Chasing Dreams occupies an expansive gallery on the museum’s fifth floor and offers a comprehensive look at baseball’s role in uniting many complex cultural groups.

A historic Jackie Robinson rookie of the year pin on view in Chasing Dreams. (On loan courtesy of Stephen Wong)

Drawing from the NMAJH’s permanent collection as well as from more than 50 other public and private collections and an online collecting initiative via Tumblr, the exhibit includes a huge range of one-of-a-kind artifacts and archival photography, as well as audio and interactive elements.

Throughout the display’s four primary sections, the exhibition covers early baseball history, questions of cultural identity on the field, the way baseball has affected racial, ethnic and gender integration, and, finally, the role it plays in family and many larger communities.

Truly, there are items that will thrill any baseball fan — from multiple recordings of Take Me Out to the Ballgame, which was written by lyricist Jack Norworth and Jewish composer Albert Von Tilzer, to such memorable highlights as Sandy Koufax’s Cy Young Award, Hank Greenberg’s uniform, Jackie Robinson’s jacket, Ichiro Suzuki’s rookie jersey and so much more.

Plus, there’s tons of pure sporty fun, especially for those who step up to the plate and take advantage of interactive elements. Within the exhibition, a simulation baseball game, Catching History, invites museum-goers to field balls and answer trivia. On the first floor, the Koufax on the Koncourse display includes an opportunity to throw a pitch in honor of the great Dodgers player.

Special Events

 
Over the more than six-month run of the exhibit, a score of special events and related programming is slated to take over the museum.

On Tuesday, March 25, catch Old Jews Talking Baseball, a conversation between bestselling writer and inventor of fantasy baseball, Dan Okrent, and the official historian of Major League Baseball, John Thorn, who also served as the chief consultant for the exhibit.

Later this spring and summer, look for multiple film series, family-friendly community days, young friends cocktails parties, intriguing lecture series and more.

The complete list of corresponding events is available right here.

Don’t miss the opportunity to take in rarely-seen artifacts and learn about the players that changed the cultural face of America’s national pastime.

Chasing Dreams: Baseball And Becoming American
When: March 13-October 26
Where: National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall East
Cost: Included with general admission, $12, adults
More info: www.chasingdreams.nmajh.org

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