The one-sentence tale of Jackie Robinson’s existence is widely known. As a baseball participant in 1947, he used to be the primary Black particular person to play in Major League Baseball, ushering in a metamorphosis of America’s nationwide hobby and arguably accelerating the civil rights motion. This one sentence bio is a large one; few sports figures have performed this type of primary position in historical past.
But Robinson used to be multiple success, as important because it used to be. A new museum dedicated to his existence off and on the sphere goals to inform a extra whole tale of a determine who excelled in industry, within the media, and in activism, as well as to his athletic achievements. The museum’s creators and architects need guests to be told this broader tale whilst additionally construction at the social development Robinson made throughout his existence.
The Jackie Robinson Museum, now open in Lower Manhattan, no longer all that a ways from the place Robinson performed for the Brooklyn Dodgers, is the conclusion of a lifelong dream of Robinson’s 100-year-old widow, Rachel, who used to be there for the museum’s contemporary ribbon chopping. “She wanted his full story to be told,” says Della Britton, president and CEO of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, established in 1973, which his spouse had created in his honor after his early loss of life in 1972 at age 53.
“The museum is like the final piece of Rachel’s vision to preserve her late husband’s legacy,” says Hans Neubert, ingenious director of virtual revel in design on the international structure company Gensler, which designed the museum. Gensler has labored with the root for greater than a dozen years, designing its headquarters in New York City, the place it makes a speciality of management and offering scholarships to school scholars of colour. Neubert says the problem in making a museum about this type of well-known determine used to be to to find techniques to toughen the tale other folks already know and lift the deeper tales they most certainly don’t.
That required de-emphasizing the well-known one-line tale from the beginning. The primary gallery within the museum has little to do with Robinson the participant or Robinson the color-barrier breaker. Sections in the primary gallery discover Robinson’s paintings and existence outdoor of sports, together with his army provider; his position in 1957 as the primary Black vice chairman of a significant company, the espresso emblem Chock Full o’ Nuts; his civil rights activism within the overdue Nineteen Fifties, and his time as a sports broadcaster within the Nineteen Sixties.
Robinson’s athletic historical past isn’t disregarded. One massive gallery makes a speciality of his in depth carrying occupation: from lettering in 4 sports at UCLA to being, reportedly, the first particular person to dunk a basketball to his skilled barrier-breaking baseball occupation. In 1997, Major League Baseball took the uncommon step of retiring Robinson’s jersey quantity, 42, throughout all the league.
“A big part of the creative challenge we set for ourselves collectively,” says Neubert, “was, on one hand, celebrating his legacy and, on the other hand, making his legacy mean something for the future and that calls people to action to take that legacy forward.”
A spotlight of the museum is Game Day, an interactive scale fashion of Nineteen Forties-era Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, the place guests can relive one in every of Robinson’s video games thru multimedia content material and video of each the sport and occasions taking place within the town and international.
Neubert says Game Day is a part of the museum’s center of attention on placing Robinson’s existence in a better context, appearing how international occasions formed his activism, skilled existence, and carrying occupation.
The museum additionally includes a phase appearing Robinson’s affect at the international, with 42 video displays that includes distinguished figures from the worlds of politics, sports, and industry speaking concerning the position Robinson performed in guiding or inspiring their very own paintings.
“This museum isn’t just about him, it isn’t just about race,” Neubert says. “It’s about citizenship and humanity.”