It’s been a bumpy couple of years for Chicago’s museum community. “Lucas Museum” joined “religion” and “politics” on the list of things mothers teach their children not to discuss in polite company. But the fact that Chicago’s museums can charge New York and London rates to see their exhibits and lines still snake out the door shows that there is a hunger amongst both locals and tourists for more quality museums in the city.
Enter the American Museum of Sports. It’s an effort to bring a great big new sports museum to the city. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, the CEO is Mark Lapides, formerly of the Adler Planetarium; and Roger Germann, currently of Four Lions Strategies.
It’s envisioned as a multi-disciplinary institution. Much more than a hall of fame, like a lot of cities have (including Chicago’s own National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame). It would be a museum for all sports, and explore the ways that sports impacts society. Think Jesse Owens giving a symbolic finger to Adolph Hitler, the physics of corked bats, the evolution of Super Bowl commercials, and the physics of a spiraling football.
Chicago is one of only 13 cities in American with all four major league sports, so the museum certainly deserves to be located here. And as long as nobody tries to sacrifice a lakefront parking lot to build it, opposition should be minimal. As long as someone can be found to pay for it.
To that end, the American Sports Museum has organized itself as a tax-exempt charity, and has started a crowdfunding page. The organization’s initial goal is to raise $50,000,000 and find 100,000 square feet of space somewhere near downtown. As of this writing, it’s raised fewer than two of the 50 thousand dollars it hopes for in its initial goal (about 3%), so not exactly a rip-roaring start.
If you’d like to get in the spirit, or just learn more about it, watch the video below.