The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is designed as an education
tool. Visitors experince an immersive environment of information,
sound, and nostalgia. Since it is set primarily as a self-gudied
tour experience, you choose how much informaton you want to
absorb. Still, when you enter the exhibit, you must follow the
directed path. The exhibit features a design that harkens back
to the days of old brick baseball stadiums, like old Comiskey
Park in Chicago, complete with antique styled turnstiles. You
are purposely "segregated" from other parts of the
exhibit by a "chicken" wire backstop. You must learn
the history in order to "take the field" with the
legends of black baseball. Once inside, the exhibit features:
• A timeline of African American history and baseball
history which highlights events beginning in the 1860s up through
• A chart and map list the teams and communities of the
Negro Leagues from 1920-1955, the primary operation period.
• Several hundred recreated photographs and manuscript
pieces from African-American baseball arranged chronologically.
• Several hundred text panels and photograph captions
which allow you to follow the highlights of Negro Leagues teams
and player histories.
• Lifestyle exhibits which highlight black business, such
as the hotels and barbershops, as well as fashion and style
of the era.
• A number of strategically placed touch-screen computer
exhibits, which feature trivia questions, full motion video,
and data base encyclopedia of players and teams.
• Twelve life sized bronze sculptures of Negro League
players. 11 of them are men honored by the National Baseball
Hall of Fame. 10 statues are positioned on the Field of Legends,
a mock baseball diamond, where this mythical all-star team looks
to be engaged in an epic battle. Visitor's are welcomed to walk
onto the field. The statues include "Rube" Foster,
"Satchel" Paige, Josh Gibson, "Buck" Leonard,
"Pop" Lloyd, "Judy" Johnson, Ray Dandridge,
"Cool Papa" Bell, Oscar Charleston, Leon Day, Martin
Dihigo, and "Buck" O'Neil.
• Several short film exhibits which add information about
the museum and the league history. A short 4 minute introductory
film explains the exhibit design and set up. The main film,
They Were All Stars, is 15 minutes
long and scheduled on the half-hour in the Grand Stand Theater.
It is narrated by legendary actor James Earl Jones. Later, you
can watch an 8 minute film in the Diamond Theater
featuring interviews of Negro Leagues players narrated by Bernard
Shaw. Other short films include rare old film footage and interviews.
• Music and sound effects which make you feel that you
have stepped back in time.
• Small collection of art donated or loaned to the museum
is also on display in various areas of the gallery.
The gallery is divided into these sections:
• The Early Years shed light on black
baseball and its origins after the Civil War
• Pioneers highlights those early black
players in college, professional and semi-professional ranks
that attempted play during the early segregation period.
• Drawing the Line discusses the so called
"gentlemen's agreement," which unofficially banned
black players from major professional leagues at the turn of
• Great Independents showcases the black
teams and stars who thrived prior to formation of the first
official Negro Leagues.
• The Negro Leagues shows the founding
of the Negro National League in Kansas City 1920, and the early
success it brought to teams and communities nationwide.
• Traveling Men chronicles the early
travel conditions and hardships of life on the road.
• Night Baseball offers information on
the origins of one of baseballs major innovations in the 1930s.
• Celebrity Baseball highlights the great
black community leaders, entertainers, and athletes who admired
Negro Leagues baseball.
• The Golden Years discusses the fall
and re-emergence of the Negro Leagues during the Great Depression.
It also showcases the origins of the famous East/West All-Star
• Beisbol brings to light the great legacy
and connections of black baseball to Latin America.
• Satchel gives brief highlights of the
most famous Negro Leagues star, Satchel Paige.
• Clown Teams offers a balanced view
the famous teams in the Negro Leagues which offered vaudville
styled entertainment along with their baseball skills.
• Hometown Teams showcases Kansas City
as one example of communities rallying to support the Negro
• Changing Times offers a glimpse at
the first attempts to intergrate in the modern day game of baseball,
and its ultimate success with Jackie Robinson in 1945.
• Power of the Press illuminates the
sports writers and newspapers of African-American communities
who followed the games and pushed for equality in baseball.
• The End shows the ultimate closing
of the leagues after intergration.
• Major Leagues highlights the great
black players who moved from the Negro Leagues and became stars
in the Major Leagues.
• Heroes of the Game lockers honors those
Negro Leagues players who are inducted into the National Baseball
Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
• Local Legends pays respect to those
individual Negro Leagues veterans who helped educate others
to the history and helped pave the way for the museum efforts
in Kansas City.
• Field of Legends, the end of the tour,
features the mock baseball diamond and bronze statues.