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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

What I Learned at the Baseball Hall of Fame

I’m late posting today because I spent most of the day in a car — the part when I wasn’t in Cooperstown with Sasha (10) at the Baseball Hall of Fame. Sasha is an avid Yankee fan as well as baseball player and has read a great deal about baseball history. He was quivering with excitement at getting to visit the Hall. He was, though, also tired, and so we were only there for a couple of hours — which meant we rushed through many parts. He liked some more than others — seemed more drawn to exhibits with films or other things he could watch than to objects — but as we went through the exhibits I suddenly realized the special value of places like the Hall: Sasha was getting to experience what Marina and I get out of going to museums. When we take the boys we find activities and interesting bits for them, but really we are the ones eager to go. Here was a case where the museum itself was devoted to a passion of Sasha’s. So he was getting a first taste of what a museum can offer.

In a sense, the Hall was like a middle grade nonfiction book – it teaches by beginning with an area of interest the reader/visitor already has. And what it is teaching is not just about the Babe, or Hank Aaron or women in baseball, or the origins of the game; no. The Hall is also teaching what it is to go to a museum — what museums can offer. It is giving young people the experience of going through halls and eagerly seeing what treasure comes next. I am sure that if we had gone to Canton for the Football HOF, or to Cleveland for the Rock and Roll we would have had similar experiences. These are training sessions in being a museum-goer, as well as visits to the great personalitites and records of baseball.

We will certainly go back.

Comments

  1. “Training sessions in being a museum-goer…” I LOVE it! Can I get a degree in that? When I give tours at our museum my excitement at being there is one of the things I hope the kids pick up on…

  2. Marc Aronson says:

    ther Metropolitan Museum here in New York has nice family and child-oriented tours and events. What struck me about the Hall was that the entire place interested Sasha — and many other young people.

  3. jon glick says:

    Years ago we took the guys to PS1 in Long Island City. It was a huge contemporary art show. For some reason there was a playfulness in the art that year (something desperately missing in a recent show we saw at the same museum), and the kids reacted to it all as if it was a magical playhouse. Having been an art student, there was much that my inner critic might have picked a bone with, but on that day, because of the kids, I let my guard down. We walked around, and enjoyed it all like a big carnival. On that day it was the kids teaching me and my wife how to enjoy a museum.

  4. Marc Aronson says:

    perfect — just last night I was reading a Jewish tale to Sasha, the moral of which was: “a child’s wisdom is still wisdom.”