Travel Treasures Close to Home: Pro Football Hall of Fame

by Tom Reed
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Story filed January 22, 2013

The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton is in the midst of a major renovation and expansion project that will mark its 50th anniversary in 2013. The project is scheduled for completion in the summer, but donít let the construction stop you from visiting the Hall between now and then. The staff has made every effort to keep the exhibits open with minimum inconvenience to visitors.

The expansion will increase the size of the Hall from 85,000 to 118,000 square feet. The key features are a new main entrance and grand lobby, a new special exhibition gallery, new spaces for special events, and a larger retail store. The original iconic two-story rotunda, a landmark familiar to motorists on I-77, is being completely renovated.

Of course the heart and soul of any Hall of Fame museum is the gallery of inductees. The 2013 inductees will be elected on Super Bowl weekend in New Orleans, and will be enshrined in Canton next August. The Class of 2013 will be added to the 273 Hall of Famers previously inducted. In addition to viewing busts of the honorees, visitors can use interactive terminals to look up players by name, year inducted, team, position, or other criteria. A video bio and several screens of information are available for each. The Cleveland Browns are represented by 16 inductees who made their major contributions as Browns, and five others noted primarily for their play with other teams.

There are many interactive displays sprinkled throughout the museum, but the most spectacular use of video is in the Super Bowl Theater. The 20-minute presentation is divided into two parts. You see the first, and then the seating area revolves to reveal the second, which is all about the most recent Super Bowl. At the time of my visit in January, it was the 2012 Super Bowl in which the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The video is stunning, putting you right in the middle of the bone-crunching action, with full volume audio letting your hear what the players are saying.

On the lower level, in addition to the gift shop, there are games to keep the youngsters from getting bored. And, weather permitting, kids enjoy running around on the FieldTurf recreation field outside. The field is marked with yard lines and hash marks found on a regular football field. FieldTurf is also the surface of the nearby Fawcett Stadium, home of the annual Hall of Fame game and enshrinement ceremonies in August.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is open every day of the year, except Christmas Day. Winter hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $22 for adults, $18 for seniors, $16 for children (6-12), free for kids under 6.

For more information about the Hall of Fame, including updates on the 2013 inductees, check out the website

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