Web Exclusive: An Oldie but a Goodie

One of the oldest MLB team’s hall of fame gets a fresh face
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Posted April 27, 2020

In 1881, the Cincinnati Red Stockings made their debut beating Saint Louis 12-3 during a weekend exhibition game away from home. One hundred and thirty-nine years later, with five World Series championships under their belts, and now known as the Cincinnati Reds, the storied Major League Baseball (MLB) team has grown to be an enduring fixture of the local Cincinnati community. 

Recently, Cincinnati-based design firm FRCH Nelson led the renovation of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, done in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of professional baseball. With interactive exhibits, newly acquired Reds memorabilia and life-size figures of players, the new Hall of Fame and Museum is a uniquely immersive experiences for fans and novices alike.

Progressing Through Space and Time

The museum spans 16,000 square feet stretched over three narrow levels, so the design team was challenged to create a sense of openness as well as an opportunity for guests to explore on their own terms, without being limited by the linear nature of the building.

FRCH Nelson used the progression of the building to highlight the progression of Red’s history and, in turn, the history of baseball as a sport, culminating in the Hall of Fame.

The layout is designed with enough flexibility for the Reds to be able to change out displays as they refresh or add memorabilia. “Giving the museum itself the ability to flex when they need to is critical to being current,” says Aaron Ruef, FRCH Nelson, client services director for the project.

Something for Everyone, Every Time

There is no one definition of the modern fan of baseball, Ruef explains, so the museum was designed to be experienced by diehard fans as well as casual fans of all ages. With this in mind, the design team strove to “deliver a unique museum experience that allows you to choose or customize your experience as you engage with the space,” he says.

The interactive design of the exhibits allows fans who desire a more in-depth experience to “double click” into more details about favorite players or specific baseball cards. A more casual fan, or even a guest who knows nothing about MLB, can experience the museum at surface level and still comprehend the intended narrative.

Ruef explains the key to the diverse experience was “developing multiple storylines that can range anywhere from the extremely detailed, to the larger overarching Cincinnati Reds’ brand story, and everything in between.”

An Experience to Remember

One of the standout features of the museum is the interactive Fox broadcast booth, in which fans of all ages can enjoy calling a classic moment in baseball or performing an interview or newscast. The booth is part of the first broadcasters Hall of Fame in professional sport.

The museum boasts a massive collection of baseball cards organized in both a digital and analog system, which allows guests to explore the archives and even create their own baseball card.

Ruef says this takes the museum to the next level with interactivity. “Multiple immersive media experiences throughout, culminating in a truly one-of-a-kind digital interface that allows you to hear and see the stories of each individual Reds player inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame,” he says.

Interactive exhibits like these give guests a reason to return. “You could spend an entire afternoon or you could spend a quick 30 minutes before a game,” explains Ruef. “Every time you come back, it's going to be a different experience.”

PROJECT SUPPLIERS

Project
Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, Cincinnati

Design and Architecture
FRCH Nelson, Cincinnati: Robyn Novak, Creative Director; Marty McCauley, Design Director; Mike Ruehlman, Design Director; Aaron Ruef, Project Director, Client Leader; Hortensia Gonzalez, Senior Interior Designer; Kendall Sebald, Interior Designer; Lori Kolthoff, Resource Designer; Brian Sullivan, Architect, AIA; Abby Golden, Interior Designer

Design Consultants
37 Volts, Cincinnati
Real Art, Dayton, Ohio
THP, Cincinnati

Audio/Visual and In-Store Technology
NorCom, Hebron, Ky. 

Ceilings
HGC, Cincinnati

Fixtures
Geograph, Cincinnati

Furniture
Orange Chair, Cincinnati

Lighting
37 Volts, Cincinnati

Mannequins and Forms
LifeFormations, Cincinnati

Props and Decoratives
Cincinnati Reds, Cincinnati

Signage/Graphics
Geograph, Cincinnati
Holthaus Lackner Signs, Cincinnati
GCI Digital Imaging, Cincinnati
Harlan Graphics, Cincinnati

General Contractor
HGC Construction, Cincinnati

Photography: Lesle Lane, Studio 13, Indianapolis