SPORTS MUSEUMS: 10 OF THE WORLDS BEST
SPORTS MUSEUMS: 10 OF THE WORLD'S BEST
Are you a sports fan searching for the perfect destination this summer? Need a fix to get you through the off-season? Or just want to show the kids some of your own childhood sporting heroes? Here's a list of 10 of the best sports museums the world has to offer...
World Rugby Museum
The World Rugby Museum houses the collection of the Rugby Football Union, with more than 25,000 historic objects spanning the history of the sport from its public school origins in the 19th century to the modern international game.
The collection includes match-worn jerseys and boots, balls, trophies, programs, tickets and photographs spanning more than a century, with notable items including the Calcutta Cup, the 2003 Rugby World Cup, an 1871 England Jersey and Cap and an 1888 Anglo-Australian Tour Jersey and Cap.
Permanent exhibits include the Twickenham Wall of Fame, commemorating the greatest players to have graced the stadium, The Birth of Rugby which details the origins of the sport, and The World of Rugby which details how the sport has spread to the four corners of the globe.
Fans will also have the opportunity to test their passing and kicking skills, and perhaps even combine a visit with a stadium tour of Twickenham itself.
Donington Grand Prix Exhibition
(Image: Donington Grand Prix Exhibition)
The Donington Grand Prix Exhibition is home to the world's largest collection of Grand Prix racing cars. Housed appropriately at the world-famous Donington race track in Leicestershire, England, the exhibition spans four halls and more than 140 exhibits, documenting the history of motor racing from the turn of the 20th century to the present day.
The museum's most famous exhibits include the Lotus 18 in which Stirling Moss won the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix; the McLaren M23 driven by Formula 1 World Champion James Hunt in 1977; Damon Hill’s 1996 Championship winning Williams car; a complete collection of 50s Vanwall team cars; and the world's largest collection of racing helmets, worn by legends such as Juan Manuel Fangio, Graham Hill, Nigel Mansell, James Hunt and Fernando Alonso.
Two of the museum's most impressive displays are the halls dedicated to the McLaren and Williams F1 teams, each featuring complete sets of vehicles unmatched outside the companies' own factories. In addition, the museum also features vintage cars from Ferrari, Jordan, Lotus and Cosworth, and a vast array of WWII military vehicles from the Wheatcroft Collection.
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, and named after former local resident James Naismith who invented the game in 1891, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is America's leading basketball museum.
Since it was established in 1959, the Hall of Fame has inducted 335 coaches, players, referees and contributors, along with ten teams, all of whom are commemorated in the museum's main hall.
Having moved into its new location in 2002, the state-of-the-art museum also includes a series of interactive exhibitions, and historic memorabilia including game-worn uniforms and sneakers, medals, trophies and championship rings.
There are also exhibits telling the story of the game's earliest days at Springfield YMCA, the development of the college game and the birth of professional basketball with the BAA, the NBA and the ABA.
And visitors wanting to test their skills can compete against NBA stars in a virtual reality game, or simply shoot real hoops on the museum's full-size basketball court.
British Golf Museum
Scotland is regarded as 'The Home of Golf', and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is a fitting home for the British Golf Museum.
The museum traces the long history of the game, from its origins in the 15th century to the first golf clubs and courses of the 18th century, the development of the professional game in the mid 19th century and today's modern game.
Celebrating golf from grass roots to international level, the museum also honours history's greatest professional and amateur players from early pioneers to Open champions.
Historic artefacts include the earliest known set of golf clubs,two irons and six woods dating from the late 17th century; a set of hand-written rules dating from 1754; Tom Morris Jr’s 1872 Open Championship medal; and cane golf balls made by Allied prisoners of war during WWII.
The museum also includes a wealth of historic archive material such as photographs, books and films, interactive exhibits for families and schools, and the chance to dress up in suitably ridiculous period golfing attire.
(Image: MCC Museum)
The MCC Museum at Lords Cricket Ground in London is believed to be the world's oldest sporting museum - officially opened in 1953, with the origins of the museum's collection dating back to 1864.
Entrance to the museum is included in the Lords tour, which takes you behind the scenes of the world's most famous cricket ground.
The museum's most famous exhibit is also cricket's most famous object – the original Ashes urn presented to England captain Ivo Bligh during a tour of Australia in 1882/83.
Other exhibits pay tribute to the game's most celebrated players, including W.G Grace, Don Bradman, Jack Hobbs, Victor Trumper and Brian Lara.
Amongst the museum's vast collection is equipment used by a century of cricketing heroes, the ground's famous Father Time weather vane and even an unfortunate stuffed sparrow, struck dead during a match in 1936 and mounted to the ball that killed it.
Hockey Hall of Fame
The Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada, is a museum celebrating the history of Ice Hockey from its genesis in the 18th and 19th centuries to the present day. It also serves to honour the sport's greatest players and benefactors, with over 380 inductees whose names and stats are permanently displayed in the museum's Esso Great Hall.
The history of the NHL is detailed in a series of exhibits, telling the stories of teams past and present, legendary players and milestones such as Darryl Sittler's ten-point game and Wayne Gretzky's all-time points record.
The museum includes vintage jerseys, sticks, skates and other memorabilia from some of hockey's most famous moments, and the trophy room allows fans to see current National Hockey League trophies alongside the original Stanley Cup.
Interactive exhibits also allow visitors to try their hand at keeping goal against simulations of Gretzky and Mark Messier, or attempt to put a shot past 'Crazy Eddie' Belfour.
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
(Image: Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum)
First opened in 1977 to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the Wimbledon championships, the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum is now the largest tennis museum in the world with thousands of historic artefacts and interactive exhibits.
Amongst the items on display are trophies, medals and prizes awarded across three centuries, a book on the game written circa 1555, antique equipment and tennis fashions from the Victorian era to the present day, and memorabilia from many of the world's greatest players past and present.
Visitors can also receive a tour of the men's dressing from the holographic 'ghost' of John McEnroe; watch a 3D film about the science of tennis on the museum's 200 degree cinema screen; and take a behind-the-scenes tour around the world famous grounds.
(Image: Olympic Museum)
The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland is the largest museum dedicated to the world's greatest sporting event.
With more than 10,000 artefacts, the museum traces the history of the games, from ancient Olympic Games and the rebirth of the modern Games in the 19th century to the present day.
The museum is split into three sections: Olympic World, Olympic Games and Olympic Spirit. The first deals with the evolution of the games over more than 2,000 years, and the second documents the events within the games, with more than 1,000 archive video clips capturing some of the most iconic moments in Olympic history.
The third section allows visitors to become part of the Olympic family, testing their skills and agility in a series of interactive exhibits, experiencing life in a recreation of an Olympic village, and seeing a display of historic medals won by athletes over the decades.
The museum is also surrounded by picturesque gardens and a sculpture park, filled with artworks inspired by sporting achievement.
National Football Museum
The National Football Museum in Manchester, England is home to one of the world's largest collections of football memorabilia.
With exhibits spanning more than 150 years, the museum covers the history of the beautiful game from the birth of the Football Association in 1863 to the present day.
Amongst the amazing artefacts are the two balls used during the 1930 World Cup final in Uruguay; the ball from the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley; the original set of rules written when The Football Association was formed in 1863; the England captain's cap and jersey from England v Scotland in 1872, the world's first official international match; The UEFA Cup Winners' Cup trophy; and the shirt worn by Diego Maradona in the 1986 World Cup quarter final, in which he scored both the greatest and most notorious goals in World Cup history.
Visitors can also learn about the histories of their own teams, the development of some of the world's finest football stadiums, the development of tactics and formations, and how match days have changed for fans over the years.
Other exhibits include the story of how football was affected by WWI, including the story of the famous 'Christmas Truce' game in 1914; an archive of vintage football games and toys, from Subbuteo to FIFA 15; and interactive displays where visitors can test their passing and penalty kick skills.
Baseball Hall of Fame
The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York is the spiritual home of 'America's National Pastime'. Opened in 1939, the Hall of Fame has honoured 310 players, coaches and pioneers of the sport and continues to inaugurate members each year.
The museum is home to tens of thousands of artefacts tracing the evolution of the game, its greatest players and legendary teams, pioneers, record-breakers and history-makers. It also houses more than 2.6 million library items such as newspaper clippings and phototgraphs, and over 130,000 vintage baseball cards.
Treasures in the museum's collection include the world's oldest baseball jersey; the bat used by Babe Ruth to hit his record 60th home run in 1927; the ball Cy Young used during his 500th career win; the jersey Hank Aaron wore when he hit his 715th career home run; and even the mythical 'Doubleday' ball, used in 1840 by the alleged creator of the sport Abner Doubleday.
There are permanent exhibitions telling the story of women in baseball, the history and struggles of African-American players, the broadcasters and journalists who covered the game, the depiction of baseball in the movies, a kid's clubhouse filled with hands-on activities for families, and of course, the plaque gallery hall in which the Hall of Famers are permanently celebrated.