As promised, Birmingham is moving forward with a Negro Leagues museum adjoining Regions Field, home of the Birmingham Barons (Class AA; Southern League), according to city officials.
The $2 million project, which has already received $400,000 in city funding, is slated to open in 2014. Organizers will need to privately raise the remainder of the funding.
Still, planning for the new museum is already in advanced stages. The Birmingham group has been working with the Kansas City-based Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to coordinate planning efforts, and it sounds like some pretty cool offerings are in the works. From Reuters:
The interactive museum will feature holograms that allow visitors to stand in the line of fire as Paige pitches one of his legendary fastballs.
Visitors will also be able to meet former players volunteering at the museum who will be free to “tell all the lies they want,” joked Layton Revel, founder of the Center for Negro League Baseball Research (CNLBR) in Dallas.
“It will be a museum like no other one in the country,” said Revel, who will be donating most of the memorabilia that will fill the 5,000 square foot museum, including 1,500 baseballs.
There’s a rich history of Negro League baseball in Birmingham and the South: Willie Mays and Satchel Paige played for the Birmingham Black Barons, and the team was an institution in Rickwood Field. The displays in the museum will also reflect on the city’s civil-rights history.
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