The Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, Indiana is getting rave reviews — and it’s just getting started. The Indianapolis Star has called it “a piece of Disney right in Indiana” and “…the fury version of Cooperstown.” That’s very impressive coverage for a museum that only just opened for visitors in December 2018.

A hearty congratulations from Chicago Scenic to founder and museum visionary, David Raymond, mayor of Whiting, Joseph M. Stahura, and the excellent Hall of Fame team.

Why mascots—and why a hall of fame? The museum is Raymond’s brainchild and he’s pursued the vision for 14 years. Chicago Scenic also is giving a shout-out to our fellow collaborators on the museum—including the talented people at JRA, the Cincinnati attraction design firm that we partnered with on the 25,000 sq. ft. facility.

The Mascot Hall of Fame features state-of-the-art exhibits, activities, and events that celebrate the unique appeal and fun of mascots for sports teams.

Chicago Scenic’s team of fabricators spent six months building the seven exhibits that make for a highly interactive and fun family-oriented experience – each of which features a fun, playful name including Fuzzical Education, Fureshman Orientation, Science of Silliness, Marvelous Mascot Maker, Mascot Studies, The Furry Arts, and Frankenfur’s Mascots.

The Hall of Fame comes to life at a special time for Chicago Scenic, as we celebrate our 40th year in business. It turns out, you learn a whole lot in four decades. We’ve spent some time recently pulling together many key ideas and insights that we’ve had in that time—you’ll hear more about what we have planned soon, so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, here are a few important insights that helped guide our work on the Mascot Hall of Fame and that we draw on in museums primarily targeting children:

  1. Kids are tough customers: Nothing beats kids when they’re engaged and having fun. But the biggest challenge in creating for children is this: Kids explore everything and they don’t hold back. They put things in their mouths, they put things in their ears. They smell, they taste — they push it, spin it, turn it, bang on it. Exhibits and installations for kids have to stand up to all that—and more. Building it for kids? Take your worst fears about making things last and multiply them times 10.


  1. Science, With a Side of Art: When it comes to interactive children’s exhibits, today’s focus is all about STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and STEAM (add in “art”). Starting with those principles provides the meat of the interaction. Add the magic of theatre and ensure that the exhibits are intuitive and you create an engaging opportunity that children will enjoy and revisit. Science, art, theatre: an uncommon and powerful combination.


  1. Great Teams – Not Lone Wolves: It’s a fact: more innovations come from teams and groups than from a lone genius. Excellent collaboration is essential — great teams are fueled by people working together effectively. Excellent project managers are essential — and the best of them know how to help a team surface great ideas and balance competing interests, budgets, and client demands. Build the Best Team: More Heads are better than one.

Mascot Hall of Fame Credits: JRA (design); Chicago Scenic Studios, Inc. (project management, fabrication and installation).; Trivium, Northern Light, & Electrosonic (AV/Media).

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame announced that it will showcase three-time NCAA Division I national champions from Pennsylvania at the NCAA Wrestling Fan Fest in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center – Hall A on March 21-23. Held in conjunction with the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, the Fan Fest is free to the public.

The Hall of Fame will also host a roundtable discussion, moderated by Tom Elling, with three-time NCAA champion Nate Carr, two-time NCAA champion David Taylor and Erin Vandiver, who is the girls wrestling coach at national high school powerhouse Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School in Kingston, Pennsylvania. The three will discuss their careers in wrestling and the role that the Keystone State played.

The event will be held on Thursday, March 21, from 3:45-4:30 p.m. on the Fan Fest Main Stage in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center – Hall A. Carr, Taylor and Vandiver will sign autographs immediately following the discussion.

“Pennsylvania has an amazing wrestling history and has hosted the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships 14 times, including in Pittsburgh in 1957 and 2019,” said Hall of Fame Executive Director Lee Roy Smith. “There have been countless national champions either from Pennsylvania or wrestling for Pennsylvania schools, including 10 three-time NCAA Division I champions. We want to give wrestling fans an opportunity to hear from some of the state’s great wrestlers to learn more about the incredible impact that Pennsylvania has had on our sport at the state, national and international level.”

A native of Erie, Pennsylvania, Carr was a Pennsylvania state champion and a three-time NCAA champion and a two-time Big 8 champion for Iowa State University. A Distinguished Member inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003, he won a bronze medal at the 1988 Olympics and represented the United States in two World Championships. Carr is currently an associate director at the Cyclone Regional Training Center in Ames, Iowa, and also a member of the Hall of Fame’s Board of Governors. He was an assistant coach at West Virginia University, being named National Assistant Coach of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association in 1991, and, most recently, coached at Perry High School in Massillon, Ohio, where his son, David, was a four-time state champion and the national winner of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award.

The Carr family had six brothers who wrestled in college and five earned All-American honors, beginning with Fletcher, who was an All-American at the University of Tampa in 1972 and 1973. Fletcher then became the first African-American full-time head coach at the University of Kentucky, leading the Wildcats to two Southeastern Conference titles. He was also the first African-American coach to have an African American wrestler earn Division I All-America honors when his brother, Joe, finished third in 1975. Joe finished third again in 1976 while Jimmy finished fifth in 1977. Jimmy finished sixth at the 1971 Senior World Championships as a 16 year old and is the youngest American to compete in the Olympics, wrestling as a 17-year-old high school junior in 1972. Mike was an All-American for West Virginia in 1988.

Vandiver, who served many years as USA Wrestling’s Assistant National Women’s Coach, has been coaching at Wyoming Seminary since 2017. Competing under her maiden name Erin Tomeo, she was a member of the 2001 and 2006 U.S. World Teams and was a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete. She was the first girl in Pennsylvania wrestling history to place at the district high school boys wrestling tournament, finishing fourth, and to win a match at the regional tournament. Vandiver also won Cadet World bronze medals in 1998 and 1999. She wrestled at Lock Haven University as a member of the men’s team in 2001-02 with eventual Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann, World medalist Jenny Wong and World team member Jenna Pavlik. Vandiver’s brother, Tom Tomeo, was an All-American for Clarion University while her cousin, Seth Creasy, was an NCAA qualifier for Lock Haven. Her husband, Chad Vandiver, wrestled at Northern Illinois and was a member of the Greco-Roman National Team.

Taylor was a two-time NCAA champion and a two-time NCAA runner-up for Penn State University while helping lead the Nittany Lions to four national team titles. The national winner of the Hall of Fame’s Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award in 2009, Win Magazine named him as the Hodge Trophy award winner, presented to the best college wrestler, in 2012 and 2014. Taylor was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Year in 2011, 2012 and 2014 while winning four Big Ten championships. He won his first World Championship in 2018 and was named the best pound-for-pound freestyle wrestler in the world in 2018 by United World Wrestling after earning more ranking points than any other freestyle wrestler in any class. A four-time Ohio state high school champion and a two-time high school All-American, he has M2 Training Center in Pleasant Gap, Pennsylvania.

Elling, who received the Lifetime Service to Wrestling award from the Hall of Fame’s Pennsylvania Chapter in 2007, founded the Pennsylvania Wrestling newspaper and has been the Pennsylvania editor for Wrestling USA Magazine since 1974. He coached Lock Haven High School while also serving as a Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association official and acting as tournament director of operations at the PIAA State Championships. Elling created the first PA Wrestling website and the PA Wrestling handbook and currently serves as vice president of the Hall of Fame’s Pennsylvania Chapter.

Schedule of Events

Thursday, March 21

 3-7 p.m. NCAA Fan Festival and Win Magazine Memorabilia Show
David L. Lawrence Convention Center – Hall A

5:15-6 p.m.   National Wrestling Hall of Fame Roundtable Discussion
Pennsylvania Wrestling Greats
David L. Lawrence Convention Center – Hall A

6-6:30 p.m.   Autograph session with Nate Carr, David Taylor and Erin Vandiver
David L. Lawrence Convention Center – Hall A

Friday, March 22

 2-7:30 p.m.   NCAA Fan Festival and Win Magazine Memorabilia Show
David L. Lawrence Convention Center – Hall A

Saturday, March 17

 1-6:30 p.m.   NCAA Fan Festival and Win Magazine Memorabilia Show
David L. Lawrence Convention Center – Hall A

Canadian Sport and Heritage Conference 2019

Presented by the Canadian Association for Sport Heritage

Date: June 19-21, 2019

Location: Crowne Plaza Fredericton

Join us in Fredericton, NB as Sport, Heritage and Culture organizations from across Canada will come together for this one-of-a-kind conference! The Conference will contain lots of opportunities for Professional Development, Networking, and Best Practices for volunteers and staff alike.

Click Here for rates and the Registration Form

Click Here to reserve accommodations


Day 1
Get Inspired…Heritage Matters!
Growing Engagement and Outreach
Creating an Interactive Museum Experience

Tour of the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame’s
Interactive Museum Experience

Riverboat Cruise of the St. John River and Historical Presentation
Welcome Reception

Day 2
Maintaining Relevance in the Digital Age
Harnessing the Power of Social Media and Google Analytics
Funding Opportunities with Heritage Canada
Tapping Into The Corporate Sector

Tour of King’s Landing Historical Site
The Living Museum Experience and The Art of Story-telling
Maritime Kitchen Party at the King’s Head Inn

Day 3
Canadian Association for Sport Heritage Annual General Meeting
Hot Topics Roundtable

You can register by clicking the link below! 
Register before May 1st for a discounted Early Bird rate!

Click Here to Register

SAGINAW, MI – The Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame unveiled a new display Thursday that allows fans to measure themselves against basketball stars Jason Richardson and Craig Dill.


“We wanted to add an interactive display that kids will love,” Hall of Fame president Jack Tany said. “We’ve got one of the tallest players in Saginaw County history in Craig Dill, plus one of the biggest leapers in Saginaw history in Jason Richardson.

“The hoop is from North School and is at 10 feet. The photos are backlit, and they really look great. We went to Morley (Companies) and told them what we wanted and asked them if it could be done. They said no problem, and they did a great job.”

Both Dill and Richardson starred at Arthur Hill. Dill went on to play at the University of Michigan and in the American Basketball Association, while Richardson played at Michigan State University and 14 years in the NBA.

Richardson won the NBA Dunk Contest in 2002 and 2003, and Tany used a photo from the dunk contest to show Richardson’s leaping ability.

“We put a measuring stick on the side of the display so that kids or anyone could see where they stand as Richardson is jumping or how tall they are next to Craig Dill.”

Dill was inducted into the Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. Richardson retired in 2015 and is not yet eligible for induction.

The display fills one wall of the Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame at the Castle Museum.

By Hugh Bernreuter | [email protected]

In a time when the civil rights movement was at its peak and racial divides spread deep and wide, one African American teen and eleven established white businessmen joined together for the sake of success, boxing and the future of “The Greatest,” Muhammad Ali.

In today’s blog, we’re combining history and present day to show how knowledgeable teams (in this case, the Louisville Sponsoring Group and The Crowley Company) can provide already successful entities (Muhammad Ali and the Muhammad Ali Center) with the tools they need to be even better.

Boxing May Be a Solo Sport, But It’s Not a Solo Effort

Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.) unwittingly started his boxing career at twelve years old when his red Schwinn bicycle was stolen and he told a police officer — who also happened to train boxers — he wanted to “whup” the thief. The officer, Sergeant Joe Martin, took Ali under his wing and into the history books. By eighteen years old, Ali had proved his impressive abilities as an amateur fighter and, later that year, on the world’s stage by winning the gold medal in the light heavyweight boxing division at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

Inspired by Ali’s prowess as a boxer, eleven business magnates from Ali’s hometown of Louisville, Kentucky – spanning the tobacco, alcohol, advertising, transportation, banking and news industries – realized that Ali had the physical ability, strong heart and sharp mind that could propel him (and themselves by association) to impressive heights in and out of the ring.

The eleven, a savvy but sincere group, recognized a threefold opportunity. With their combined expertise, they could protect the interests of a rising local hero, keeping him from the unpleasant fate of boxers before him; they could elevate a sport oftentimes known for mismanagement, crooked dealings and underworld shenanigans (something they knew well from the early days of horse racing); and they could share in Ali’s success if he turned out to be the boxer and personality they thought he was.

Convinced he was, the backers, along with an attorney specializing in tax law, created a trust called the Louisville Sponsoring Group. With Ali’s agreement, they would advise his career and manage his finances. For Ali, the risk was solely to his independence; as their group members were already wealthy, theft was not a threat. From 1960-1965, the group oversaw Ali’s training, fight agreements, promotional deals, living arrangements, expenses, income taxes and more. Eventually, Ali left the Louisville Sponsoring Group in favor of other financial council but he and the members remained on good terms.

59 years later, the 7,500 pages of documents that chronicle this partnership play a crucial role in telling the story of Ali and the group – a story that crosses racial divides and illustrates how Ali was able to create and maintain the financial foundation that would later enable him to pursue his extensive philanthropic and activistic endeavors.

Archiving “The Greatest”

Established in 2005, the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville is a non-profit museum, education and cultural center that operates to preserve and promote Ali’s bold legacy and core principles. As a relatively young institution, the Ali Center has, in part, spent their formative years establishing their physical archives. Recently, they have begun digitizing collections for preservation and eventual online access.

The Louisville Sponsoring Group records were chosen for digitization first due to their rarity and fragility. The Ali Center’s manager of collections, Casey Harden, impresses, “These files are the only ones of their kind. The documents, in particular the letters between the trust and Ali’s manager, Angelo Dundee, give insight into Ali’s training, financial status and even how his house was furnished…great details that aren’t documented anywhere else.”

She continues, “The pages are delicate and some of the ink is beginning to fade due to age. By digitizing the files, we eliminate unnecessary handling when fulfilling research requests [and thus, further damage], preserve the information and create copies in case of disaster. The scanned images will eventually be accessible to researchers worldwide via an online archive, helping us to further transmit Ali’s beliefs and legacy.”

The files also contain rare information on another significant figure in black history, civil rights activist and the first female black prosecutor in Louisville, Alberta Jones. Jones served as Ali’s attorney and negotiated the initial agreement with the Louisville Sponsoring Group, particularly noteworthy during the heat of the civil rights movement. Jones served as a co-trustee on the agreement until she was murdered in 1965. Her case remains unsolved. Through the preservation of these documents and her association with Muhammad Ali, her legacy and groundbreaking achievement are also remembered.

The Ali Center chose Crowley Imaging, The Crowley Company’s digitization services division, as their partner for this inaugural digitization project. Harden recalls, “Once we spoke with Meghan O’Brien [Crowley’s senior imaging specialist], we knew that we had a match. Her knowledge helped us navigate the complexities of first-time digitization and her personality is such that no matter how many questions we asked, she set our minds at ease.”

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. – African proverb

Just as the Louisville Sponsoring Group strove to bolster Ali’s success, Crowley aimed to do the same for the Ali Center.

The initial project of a digital archive sets the foundation for the projects that follow. For a vendor, understanding the end use of the images is crucial in knowing the proper resolutions, file formats and special considerations (such as OCR searchability) needed. Through consultations, test samples and comprehensive pre- and post-digitization processes, Crowley and the Center ensured a solid jumping off point for the Ali Center’s future digital archive.

O’Brien advised the safest method of capture for the fragile documents was non-destructive scanning on overhead Zeutschel scanners, which are equipped with gentle lighting and are known for the high quality of their captured images. A collection sample was scanned as a pilot and digital images were returned for approval. In this manner, any needed adjustments were made prior to project kick off.

For security, the bankers’ boxes holding the files were personally transported by a Crowley representative from Louisville, KY to Frederick, MD for scanning. When the final images were scanned and approved, the materials were driven back to the Center. Final images were output to high resolution TIFF files and keyword searchable PDFs, which allow easy online research. The Ali Center chose to enter their own metadata and will store the images for internal use until their digital archive infrastructure is complete.

“Having these records digitally accessible to researchers, many of whom contact us from overseas, will help shed a light on parts of Ali’s history that reach far beyond boxing, including the stories of Jones’ and the eleven in the sponsoring group,” said Harden.

Continuing the Gospel of Ali

Muhammad Ali is still speaking his values through the mouthpiece of The Ali Center. His tenets are ones that inspire persons of any race, age and nation to seek ‘The Greatest’ in themselves and their communities. We are honored to have a part in preserving his legacy.

Next up for the Muhammad Ali Center? Digitizing two scrapbooks donated by William Faversham, Jr., Ali’s manager of record and the founder and push behind the Louisville Sponsoring Group.

P.S. While researching this blog, I came across a video of Muhammad Ali performing spoken word with accompaniment by Liberace on The Jack Paar Show. This promotional appearance was negotiated during Ali’s time with the Louisville Sponsoring Group. It’s one thing to read about Ali, but his spirit is even more potent when watching him speak. Enjoy!

For more information about the Muhammad Ali Center (or to plan your visit to the archives), click here.

Click here to read about other Black history preservation projects Crowley has had the pleasure of supporting.


Crowley’s experienced imaging experts, well-rounded digitization solutions and network of industry professionals are on-hand to educate and support first-time and ongoing digitization projects that works best for your institution, collection and desired end-result.

For more information on the conversion services offered by Crowley Imaging or the scanners that can be purchased for your own digitization efforts, please visit our website or call (240) 215-0224 or click here.

An exhibition unlike any other, paying homage to the most prolific scorers of our generations. 
Witness the greatest compilation of milestone artifacts and rare personal memorabilia, all
hand-picked by Hockey Hall of Fame curators from the Howe and Gretzky family collections.
Revel in the legacy and indelible bond of ‘Mr. Hockey’ and ‘The Great One’.
On now for a limited-time through March, 2020. Don’t miss it

Limited-time exhibit celebrates their storied careers and the indelible bond between these two Legends

The Hockey Hall of Fame officially opens a 2,000 square foot exhibit that pays homage to the NHL’s most prolific goal scorers,  “Mr. Hockey ” and “The Great One”, titled ‘9 & 99 : The Howe Ÿ Gretzky Exhibit’.   This comprehensive tribute explores, through mirrored individual displays, how each legend transcended the game for their respective generations, while highlighting the similarities in their Hall of Fame careers.  The more than 150 historic artifacts hand-picked by Hall of Fame curators from the Howe and Gretzky family collections range in years from 1946’s Detroit Red Wings jacket presented to Howe as a “signing bonus” all the way to Gretzky’s final NHL game in 1999.  The display also incorporates various multi-media, captivating video vignettes and rare photos.

Featured items in the exhibit include Howe’s gloves from his first Stanley Cup (1952),  Gretzky’s first pair of skates (early 1960’s),  Howe 2000th point stick (1974 – 75) and Gretzky’s 2000th point puck (1990 – 91), Gretzky’s 92nd stick/puck and his stick from his 212 point season (all from 1981-82), stick and puck from Howe’s 801 NHL goal (April 6, 1980) and Gretzky’s record breaking 802 goal stick and puck (March 23, 1994), Howe’s last All-Star Jersey (1980) in which he played with Gretzky,  Gretzky’s equipment from his last game (April 18, 1999) and Howe and Gretzky’s Order of Canada.  Both legends had the customary three-year waiting period in the Player Category waived for immediate induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame; Howe in 1972 (he came out of retirement in 1973), and Gretzky in 1999.

“Highlighting two of the greatest hockey players of all time with this immersive display is fitting,” said Phil Pritchard, Hockey Hall of Fame Vice President, Resource Centre and Curator.  “We would like to thank the Howe and Gretzky families for all of their assistance in helping us with this exhibit and preserving the history of hockey.  We are excited for our guests from around the world to see these historic artifacts and to relive their magnificent careers.”

For more information regarding the Hockey Hall of Fame, visit

Knoxville, IA, March 12, 2019 – The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum is proud to announce their annual “Salute to Champion” will focus on Texas legend AJ Foyt in 2019.  AJ is a four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, a Daytona 500 winner and winner of the 24-Hours of Lemans (co-driving with Dan Gurney)…the only driver to accomplish all three feats.  He is also the only seven-time USAC National Championship titlist.  The exhibit runs from May 1 to October 1, 2019.

AJ was a member of the 1990 inaugural class of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame who also had a legendary career on the dirt tracks.  Away from Indy and Champ cars, he amassed 42 stock car wins, 28 sprint car wins and 20 midget wins under the USAC banner alone.  He was also the 1972 USAC Dirt Champ (now Silver Crown) titlist.  He was also named Co-Driver of the 20th Century by the Associated Press.

“We’re extremely humbled to honor AJ Foyt with this year’s ‘Salute to Champion’,” said Museum Coordinator, Bill Wright.  “Many of us idolized AJ as young race fans.  To list all of his accomplishments in racing would be almost impossible.  We hope that our tribute will both bring back great memories for his fans, but also educate our younger race fans about how awesome his exploits and persona was on and off the track.  We’d be remiss if we didn’t thank Jason Vansickle and his team at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, Tony Stewart, and Jerry Nowicke for their awesome cooperation with us in getting a great lineup of cars.  We’re expecting to have a diverse representation of AJ’s history on the dirt, the bricks and the pavement!”

Seven cars are planned for the display.  Three of Foyt’s Indy 500 wins as well as his rookie car at Indianapolis will be represented.  The cars will include the 1957 Dean Van Lines Monza winner (driven by Jimmy Bryan, and AJ’s Indy Rookie car in 1958), the 1961 Bowes Seal Fast Trevis Roadster Indy 500 winner, the 1967 Sheraton Thompson Coyote Indy 500 winner, the 1974 Steve Stapp sprint car that AJ drove to twin 50-lap feature wins at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, the famous 1974-76 Dirt Champ #14 car, the 1977 Gilmore Coyote Indy 500 winner back-up car, and the Bob Nowicke midget that won the 1961 “Hut Hundred” at Terre Haute (arriving around June 1).

“We’re really excited to be able to tell AJ’s story,” says Wright.  “As has been the case in the past, we’ll have interactive exhibits as well as video to salute our champion.  Our members and race fans are always a big part of our exhibits, and if anyone has anything in mind to loan, we’re always open to that.  In addition, we’re getting close to announcing our first ‘Members Only’ die-cast in several years.  A hint is that it will be associated with AJ Foyt, so stay tuned!”

For more information on the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum and the special events happening here, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!  For more information on the events at Knoxville Raceway, visit

Ryan-Walter Athletics Center (Perkins+Will BE & HOK, Designer) – 425,000 square feet

A state-of-the-art training, competition and recreation facility calls for experiential elements of the highest quality and exacting fit. That’s what Xibitz provided for Northwestern University – in the form of custom-perforated backlit metal ceiling panels evoking the branded letter “N”; an 86-foot-long solid surface enclosure with 7-foot-high custom dimensional letters; large-scale graphics, custom-printed and mounted to canted panels with the school color in a LED lighting wash; and canted glass enclosures highlighting action figure mannequins for seven Olympic sports.

Additionally, Xibitz created a 30-foot-long wall with two towers of touch interactive displays that provide statistics, video, images and descriptions of historic moments, and more; and a 70-foot-long Hall of Honor featuring students who have become professional athletes.