First and foremost, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is a place to honor the game. When it was dedicated on June 12, 1939 in Cooperstown, N.Y., the Hall of Fame officially became the home of baseball by serving as its cornerstone and housing the stories honoring the greats of baseball's past.
In the Museum's exhibits, you can learn about baseball history, see thousands of artifacts from the game's past, watch video, hear audio, see historic images, enjoy hands-on learning, delve deeper with computer interactive displays and test your baseball knowledge. See an overview of Museum exhibits below.
How long does a visit take?
All visits are self-guided, so visitors may move through the Museum at the pace they find most comfortable. Some see all they want in just a few hours, others plan an entire weekend. Visitors may exit the Museum to enjoy other aspects of Cooperstown and return the same day.
What does the museum look like?
Virtual Tour (created in December of 2013), starting on the second floor
Note: we regularly update the Museum, so there are some differences between this tour and our current exhibits.
Cooperstown Room - Before starting the journey through baseball, the Cooperstown Room examines the history of the Hall of Fame and the "Home of Baseball," Cooperstown, N.Y. See: the mythical "Doubleday Ball."
The Baseball Experience - To set the stage, a digitally-enhanced, 13-minute multimedia presentation in the 191-seat Grandstand Theater prepares visitors for the story of the game's long and winding history.
Taking the Field: The 19th Century - Featuring baseball's formative beginnings, it is an engaging interpretation of baseball's early years. See: the oldest known baseball jersey.
20th Century Baseball Time Line - An exploration of baseball's history by generation, it details baseball's notable players, legendary teams and historic moments, including special exhibit space given to important stories including:
Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend - Presents the story of the Sultan of Swat in scrapbook form, taking the visitor from Ruth’s earliest days to his peak as a player and through his post-career life as one of America’s most beloved figures. Opened in June of 2014. See: the bat used by the Babe to hit is 60th home run of 1927.
Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend is located on the second floor of the Museum. (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame)
Diamond Dreams: Women in Baseball - This space salutes the roles women have played in baseball at every level. See: the jersey worn by Ila Borders, the first woman to win a minor league game.
Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience - An exhibit detailing the history of African Americans in baseball, from the Civil War through major league and beyond. See: Jersey, cap and sunglasses belonging to outfielder James “Cool Papa” Bell.
¡Viva Baseball! - Opened in 2009, this interactive exhibit is dedicated to baseball in the Caribbean Basin countries.
Today's Game - Capturing memories and milestones from the last several years, it features a locker containing recent artifacts for each of the 30 major league teams and a display with items from the most recent baseball season.
Diamond Mines - Telling the story of baseball scouts. Our online Scouts exhibit includes images of the artifacts from the Museum exhibit and an extensive database of information and scanned historic scouting reports.
Sacred Ground - Examining ballparks of the past and present, this exhibit takes a look at America's cathedrals of the game.
Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream - Dedicated in 2009, it chronicles Aaron's life, from childhood through his big league career and post-baseball activities. See: the jersey Hank Aaron wore when he hit his 715th career home run.
One for the Books - Records hold a special place in the hearts and minds of baseball fans. One for the Books delves into stories behind these historic events and gives visitors an interactive look at the National Pastime’s most indelible moments. See: the ball Cy Young used during his 500th win.
Autumn Glory: Postseason Celebration - Every October, a new chapter in baseball history is etched. View artifacts from the most recent World Series, See: rings from championship teams through the years, and interact with video highlights from memorable World Series moments. See: championship rings made by the winners of each World Series.
Picturing America's Pastime (temporary exhibit) - The Museum preserves the historic link between photography and baseball with more than 250,000 original photographs in the Museum’s photo archive. Picturing America’s Pastime features more than 50 photographic images showing the incredible breadth and depth of this unique collection. See: the photograph of the major leaguers on the postseason tour of 1914, visiting the sphinx in Egypt, and the ball from the game they played nearby.
The New Face of Baseball - Osvaldo Salas’s American Baseball Photographs (temporary exhibit) - The exhibition features the American baseball photographs of the internationally-acclaimed Cuban photojournalist Osvaldo Salas (1914-1992). Highlighting the new faces of Major League Baseball in the decade following integration, the exhibition celebrates the influx of Latin and African-American players into the game after Jackie Robinson’s breaking of the color barrier in 1947. See: the photograph of Chico Carrasquel, the first Latin player to be chosen to start in an MLB All-Star game.
Chasing the Dream contains Hank Aaron's uniform from the game in which he hit his record breaking 715th career home run and his locker from Fulton-County Stadium. (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame)
Learning Center - This space is used for education based programming, including hands-on learning and special events. Information for programs going on can be found on information screens in the Museum lobby.
Art of Baseball - The sport is an inspiration for many creative outlets, some of which have made their way to Cooperstown. See: Andy Worhol's portrait of Tom Seaver.
Hall of Fame Plaque Gallery - This is where all the bronze plaques for the more than 300 Hall of Famers are housed.
Baseball at the Movies - Hollywood's fascination with baseball has been captured in hundreds of films.
Scribes and Mikemen - Honors the greatest journalists to broadcast and write about the national pastime. It also houses the award winners for the Ford C. Frick Award, given annually for broadcasting excellence, and the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, presented annually for meritorious contributions to baseball writing.
Bullpen Theater - Public programs of all sorts and other activities are held in this special presentation space with vast multimedia capabilities.