I spoke to Lou Scheinfeld and Rick Berger yesterday. They are spearheading the effort, dreamed up by Ed Snider, to bring a Museum of Philly Sports to South Philly, likely near Xfinity Live!.
The plan for Phase 2 of the entertainment complex near the grounds of the old Spectrum was always to feature a museum or hall of fame of sorts. Scheinfeld, a former Flyers, Sixers and Eagles exec who had long been Snider’s right-hand man, has been working on the project since 2011. Berger is handling the fundraising. They have the support of Mayor Kenney, Ed Rendell, and all the local teams to varying degrees. There will be a private fundraiser next month, perhaps followed by solicitations for public contributions to bring the project over the goal line.
So, what is it?
When I heard Philly sports museum, I assumed that it would be a glorified collection of those memorabilia displays that fill that Wells Fargo Center concourse. But the project is much more ambitious. Currently pegged to be around 25,000 square feet, the museum would feature high-tech exhibits, including holograms, aimed at all ages. For kids, think exhibits like the ones at the Franklin Institute, only with a technological twist, along with a mock training room to learn all about proper preparation. For everyone else, interactive video and memorabilia areas, with space for traveling exhibits. It will host the renowned private sports memorabilia collection of Dr. Nicholas DePace.
The museum would be geared toward both Philly fans and tourists, and aim to be a must-visit destination for out-of-town sports fans. It will also have a restaurant and mini golf course, and be available to host weddings and other events. There will be throwback concessions and even a remodeled old-school Greyhound bus to pick visitors up from various points in the city.
You want renderings? You got it:
It all sounds great, but the non-profit group led by Scheinfeld will need to raise funds to pull it off– about $20 million or so. They have some commitments, the backing of major city players and the local teams, and they are in talks with high-profile former athletes to headline public fundraising events, but nothing is set in stone at this point.
You can check out more details about the museum at its website here. If you’d like more information or to lend your support, you can contact Rick Berger at rick[at]themuseumofsports[dot]org.