1st FLOOR : SPORT FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
The Dream Big exhibit showcases superstar athletes as children just starting to dream of their future greatness. Many were forced to overcome abject poverty and other existential challenges; sports became their pathway to survive and eventually thrive. The room features photos and videos of a diverse group of inspirational athletes on their journey from childhood dreamers to big league idols and influential role models.
A powerful exhibit, Breaking Barriers celebrates athletes who have overcome issues of race, gender, sexuality, etc., as well as those who have helped shape and manifest cultural and societal breakthroughs through their courage to speak out. This exhibit would start in the early 20th century, showing seminal historical moments in sports history alongside the rise of the civil rights movement (for both race and gender) in America. For example: how Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier (1947) had a strong influence on President Harry Truman issuing an executive order to end segregation in the Armed Services (1948) as well as the eventual Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education, mandating the end of racial segregation in public schools (1954). As another example, we will look at women athletes who set the stage for the passage of Title IX (1972) in college sports, followed shortly thereafter by the socially significant Battle of the Sexes tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs (1973). The Breaking Barriers exhibit is particularly important, timely and poignant due to the recent boycotts where athletes took a stand for social justice and racial equality and used their voices and their actions to continue to advocate for meaningful change.
ATHLETES AS INFLUENCERS
An extension of the Breaking Barriers exhibit, Athletes as Influencers will focus on the growing legion of socially conscious athletes using their platform as leaders to advocate for meaningful and sustainable change in our society. It will demonstrate how sports play a significant role in influencing society and culture, helping to guide us toward a more just and equitable awareness, consciousness and understanding, with the ultimate goal of leading us to a more perfect actualization of our fundamental national values. In particular, sports are a natural manifestation of the ideal of equal opportunity, based on a completely level playing field that honors meritocracy and universal respect.
GLOBALIZATION OF SPORTS
Over the past few decades, American sports have evolved from being national in scope to becoming truly international, attracting talented athletes from all corners of the globe. A digital map of the world will display how many athletes from each country have competed at the highest level across a wide variety of sports. The exhibit will also showcase individuals who have brought their talent to America and have made an indelible impact on their sport, particularly the pioneers and game-changers.