Sports Journeys: Pro Football Hall of Fame
The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio opened in 1963 and is home to the greatest individuals who played, coached, and helped build the National Football League. The history of the league is showcased in a multi-level setting that features exhibits of almost ten decades of the game through artifacts, pictures, and interactive kiosks.
When planning a tour it is advised to take up to three hours to walk through the building where visitors begin with a rotating exhibit on the first floor, currently a look at a collection of 300,000 plus playing cards. Fans get to experience vintage cards and game day programs dating back to 1888, some fifty years before the forming of the NFL.
There are two levels to the building that chronicles the league from its beginnings in 1920. The NFL’s First Century Gallery is located in the lower level rotunda that is highlighted by a bronze statue of Jim Thorpe from his playing days with the Canton Bulldogs. The two-level area is in the museum’s original rotunda entrance; it has grown from four different expansion efforts from 19,000 square feet to 118,000 square feet.
The highlight of the visit is the Hall of Fame Gallery that houses all 310 members of the Hall of Fame. The bronze busts of every inductee feature touch screen kiosks that include bios, photos, and videos.
“A Game of Life” is a 17-minute video that is hosted by a holographic representation of Joe Namath that takes place in a locker room and showcases inspirational stories of Hall of Fame players who demonstrate how the game of football also teaches a lesson about life. There is also holographic representations of coaching legends Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry.
After the video presentation fans enter the Pro Football Today Gallery that examines themes in the NFL from recent memory and the Lamar Hunt Super Bowl Gallery that chronicles the history of the game from the first championship title in 1967 between the NFL and AFL. All visitors than leave the exhibit level of the Hall and return to the ground floor that includes hands-on experiences including a Madden EA Sports video game suite and kid-friendly games.
The Hall of Fame is currently in the planning stages for a massive transition in time for the league’s centennial in 2020 with the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village that will feature various components that will transform the property to the “Disneyland of Football”. The total cost will equate to $800 million to create a one-of-a-kind experience.
It has begun with Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium that replaced Fawcett Stadium as the venue for the Hall of Fame Game that takes place after enshrinement ceremonies in August. The stadium bears the name of New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson who donated $11 million to the Hall with $10 million going into refurbishing the football stadium.
The 23,000 stadium will also serve home to Canton McKinley High School, Malone University, Walsh University, and several other high schools. The stadium will also be the future site to Division III championship game, Black College Hall of Fame Championship, and Ohio state high school championship games.
The other components of the expansion will include the following: Black College Football Hall of Fame. National Youth Football and Sports Complex, a 243-room Hall of Fame Hotel, Hall of Fame Promenade offer restaurants and bars, The Center for Excellence, Performance Center, Player Care Center, and the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Experience that will be an indoor interactive and immersive amusement park with a football-themed waterpark.
The changes to the Pro Football Hall of Fame will create an atmosphere that will rival very few others of its kind. The property will provide visitors the opportunity to learn about the game, a modern stadium that will house all levels of football and other events, facilities that will assist living and memory active care for retired Hall of Famers, and schools of studies for wellness and rehab.
- Pro Football Hall of Fame
- 2121 George Halas Dr. NW Canton, Ohio 44708
- Open Monday-Sunday from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM (Summer), 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (Fall/Winter/Spring)