Baseball Hall Of Fame

Cooperstown, NY is known as a baseball town and also the home to the baseball hall of fame.  I went to this museum several years ago, and one aspect that has stuck with me over the years is the improvement of technology throughout the years.  Namely how the use of cameras has changed and how the quality of the photographs have improved.

The exhibit Picturing America’s Pastime captures the improvement of photographic techniques through the games history.  I must say that the online exhibit does not capture the entire exhibit that is at the hall of fame itself.  Although that may impede the quality of the exhibit to some, there are several interesting aspects about photography that are very compelling.  As you go through and look at each individual picture you can see how methods of photography have changed  over time.  

At first in the late 1800’s, when baseball was first invented, there were mainly portraits of the players and teams available for viewing.  As time went on various improvements in camera designs enhanced the quality of the photos and which allowed photographers to explore more options to capture.  As we move into the mid 1900’s we begin to see action shots; players swinging a bat, catchers reacting to the hit, or players running the bases.  Although still in black and white, these previous photographers laid the ground work for modern day sports photographers.  I thought that the online exhibit gave credit to some of these photographers.  About every fourth picture or so there was a snippet about the techniques that the photographers used.  Some talked about how they used light to enhance their pictures, others used strictly portraits, others were just innovators for modern action shots.  There is one caption that particularly sticks out in my mind and it describes how the location of the photograph of a Negro League team was determined.  Since the stadium no longer exists, it was hard to determine the exact location.  The picture researches used a visual clue of an ad in the outfield to determine the stadium.  They also crossed checked the scores on the scoreboard to verify the exact date of the photograph as well.  

One piece I feel would improve the online exhibit would be if they showed more of timeline of how capturing baseball throughout history changed.  The pictures seem to jump around from different eras too often and some may not have a clear sense of how photographing baseball changed overtime.  I feel as though the exhibit would benefit more if the photographs were arranged chronologically rather than just throwing some pictures together from different eras.  

The final aspect that I thought the exhibit designers did well is the background for the page.  The background picture is of an old baseball game that appears to be from the early 1900’s.  I find this backdrop very fitting because it says to me that although baseball is a game of the past, it is played and enjoyed by many still today.  Sure the some stadiums have been torn down, teams have moved cities and changed names, outfields have extended, and records have been broken, but the rules and strategies still remain.  




4 thoughts on “Baseball Hall Of Fame

  1. I agree with your opinion on how helpful it would be if the pictures were in some kind of chronological order or told the story of baseball in a specific way. It makes one wonder how the photos would be placed and ordered in a physical museum, and why they chose to not curate the online show in a similar manner. I enjoy your final paragraph but I don’t necessarily agree with that photo being a good background picture. It’s a little distracting from the other photos we’re looking at, and I’d rather just see a plain colored background. This is an easy to use website though, and I really appreciate the scroll bar at the bottom so you can see how many more photos you have left to look at.


  2. This blog was really interesting for me to read. As someone who does not know a lot about the history of baseball, I felt like you did a nice job explaining it thoroughly and concisely. I really enjoyed learning about the evolution of the photography used in baseball starting in the 19th century and moving into the modern era. I appreciated that you let your own opinion and experience shine through. It definitely took the blog to the next level. It allowed you to take a critical and honest stand about the online exhibit and how it compared to the actual exhibit.


  3. I feel like this post did a great job of critiquing the online exhibition and provides good context about baseball while including your own personal experience. I like how you bring up how throughout history, baseball has changed but there are still aspects that stay the same. In my opinion, this is an important concept for any museum and can help the audience connect more to what they are trying to exhibit. It seems like if the Baseball Hall of Fame were to change to what you are suggesting, it would create an overall great exhibit that would be very effective in educating the audience.


  4. I agree with most of your commentary on the online exhibit you examined but to be honest, though, I think the lack of a chronological order is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a very interesting and interactive way of viewing baseball on a large scale. Baseball is America’s pastime, and it has been around for a very long time, putting pictures in chronological would make the online exhibit drag along and bore the viewer. When I am getting a variety of pictures and information, from many different eras, I can truly get a sense of what baseball means to this country.


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