The Ali Center transitioned their collections management software to HistoryIT’sOdyssey Preservation Software, which includes digital museum development capabilities. HistoryIT supported the transition with an updated metadata plan as well as migration services.  
The Ali Center has used Odyssey to fulfill the organization’s mission to preserve and share the legacy and ideals of Muhammad Ali by opening up its collections and offering online exhibits for the world to experience. Using features within the software, the Ali Center can easily provide access to unique and meaningful portions of their collections, including Pop Culture, Humanitarianism & Social Justice and Oral Histories.  
As they continue to digitally preserve their collections, the Ali Center uses Odyssey to manage those collections and regularly update their online exhibition to shed light on behind-the-scenes moments in Ali’s life. Their current exhibit, Training the Greatest: The Story of Ali and Dundee, shares the fascinating relationship between the Heavyweight Championship of the World and his trainer.  

The ISHA Founders Fund was established to support long-term initiatives in sports heritage by a select group of individuals who cared deeply for the legacy of sport on the world stage. The Fund now supports annual grant initiatives to assist conference attendance and to aid in the implementation of a special project by ISHA member organizations. In order to meet the long-term obligations of this Fund, a Founders’ Fund Committee works to raise money through an annual gift program, silent auction held at the annual conference, and through a reverse raffle. 
All revenue raised through these avenues directly impacts ISHA’s ability to support worthy projects that promote sports heritage and fund other initiatives important to all of our member institutions and the entire sports heritage industry. Consider making a donation to this important fund through our website using the button below. Another way to support the fund is to contribute a package for the silent auction held annually during the conference, start planning your contribution today! 


  1. After nearly two years of work their brand-new virtual museum has just launched, check it out here 
  1. They offer a membership program for those who want to help preserve history, learn more here 
  1. Follow along with their Olympic content on social media, Go Canada Go! 


Andrew Stockmann, an Emerging Professional ISHA member, hosts Hallowed Ground: The Sports Museum Podcast. Releasing bi-weekly episodes throughout most of 2021, Hallowed Ground was downloaded over 1,000 times and in 12 countries! During Season 1, Andrew spoke with multiple ISHA member institutions, such as the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, and Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. Season 2, Episode 1 was released February 1 and is a great conversation with Moriah Illsley of the Patriots Hall of Fame. You can find Hallowed Ground on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other major podcast platforms. If you or your organization is interested in being a podcast guest, you can contact Andrew at [email protected].  

Hello ISHA Members!

Below are the results of the 2021 Industry Survey sent out earlier this year. We had 26 responses in all, providing a glimpse into the state of the sports heritage industry within the ISHA Membership.

If you have any questions on this or other surveys, please feel free to reach out!

2021 ISHA Industry Survey Results

Best regards,

BETH ATLAS (she/her)
Senior Manager & Curator, 49ers Museum
San Francisco 49ers
T 408.562.4973  |  M 408.582.8251
SAP Performance Facility
4949 Marie P. DeBartolo Way
Santa Clara, CA 95054

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame is excited to announce that Executive Director Lee Roy Smith has been selected for induction into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized, but it is even more meaningful because it is my home state, a state that has an amazing and rich athletic history, particularly in our great sport of wrestling,” said Smith, who became executive director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in 2004. “I have had the pleasure of watching many of the honorees and the opportunity to join my brothers, John and Pat, makes it special.”

The other members of the Class of 2022 are Chuck Bowman, Lane Frost, R.W. McQuarters, Wilcy Moore and Tinker Owens. The Class of 2022 will be formally recognized at the at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame’s Induction Ceremony on August 1, 2022 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

From the brink of bankruptcy, Smith has steered the National Wrestling Hall of Fame to financial solvency, including the acquisition of the Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, Iowa. In the last decade, he has spearheaded capital campaigns for state-of-the-art renovations for both museums, $3.8 million in Stillwater and $1.5 million in Waterloo.

The Del City, Oklahoma, native began wrestling in the fourth grade, beginning what would grow into a family sports dynasty in the state and across the globe. The second oldest of Madalene and Lee Roy Smith’s 10 children, he was the first two-time Oklahoma state champion for Del City High School, compiling an overall record of 71-3 and being named Outstanding Wrestler at the state tournament as a senior. He was also the first wrestler from Oklahoma to win two National Junior Freestyle Championships.

A four-time Big Eight Conference champion and three-time All-American for Oklahoma State, he capped his career with an NCAA championship at 142 pounds in 1980. Smith was the first wrestler in OSU’s storied history to reach 100 wins and was the Cowboys’ 1980 Athlete of the Year.

After college, Smith began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for OSU while continuing to compete internationally. He won the National Open Freestyle Championships three times and twice was named Outstanding Wrestler. He won the 1984 Olympic Trials and qualified for two World championship teams, earning a silver medal in 1983, while also capturing silver medals at the World Cup in 1983 and 1984.

Smith helped recruit his younger brother John to OSU, coaching him to two All-America finishes and his first NCAA title in 1987. He then moved to Switzerland to work as a member of the Swiss Wrestling Federation national coaching staff and be head coach of the Martigny Wrestling Club. Smith conducted training camps in preparation for international competition that resulted in the Swiss team having its best finish ever at the Freestyle World Championships in 1987. He also led Martigny to a second-place national finish in 1988, its first top-three finish in over 10 years.

Smith returned to the United States two years later to become USA Wrestling’s national freestyle coach. In four years leading the U.S. team, he coached six World champions, three Olympic gold medalists, 10 World silver medalists, two Olympic silver medalists, a World bronze medalist and an Olympic bronze medalist. In 1992, with younger brother John and fellow Oklahoman Kenny Monday on the team, Smith led the United States to its best Olympic finish with three gold medals, two silver medals and a bronze medal with all 10 wrestlers finishing in the top seven while scoring a record number of team points. His teams finished first twice and second twice at the World Cup and he also coached the U.S. to its first dual meet victory on Soviet soil in Mogilev, Belarus on January 20, 1990.

After the 1992 Olympic Games, Smith became the head wrestling coach at Arizona State University. In nine years at the ASU helm, he compiled an overall record of 91-58-1 while coaching three NCAA champions, 28 All-Americans and 27 Pac-10 Conference champions. He led the Sun Devils to five Top 10 finishes at the NCAA Division I Championships and five Pac-10 Conference titles. He was named Pac-10 Conference Coach of the Year four times and was the national Rookie Coach of the Year in 1993. In addition to success on the mat, Smith’s teams achieved the highest graduation rate of any sport at ASU.

He was selected to work as a member of the broadcast team for the 1996 Olympics, using his expertise to describe action so that the camera operators could provide the best possible shots of the wrestling. He returned to the Olympics in 2000, serving as wrestling’s expert liaison between competition management and the international television production staff.

Smith’s two youngest brothers, Pat and Mark, followed their older brothers into wrestling and to OSU. Pat was the first four-time NCAA Division I champion while Mark was a three-time All-American. Lee Roy, John and Pat are the first and only three brothers to each win an NCAA title. Heading into 2022, the Smith siblings and their direct descendants have combined to win four World gold medals, two Olympic gold medals, a World silver medal, 11 NCAA titles, 22 All-America honors, 21 college conference titles, 23 state high school championships, two national prep titles, and nine national junior freestyle championships.

Smith joins fellow wrestlers honored by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame: Wayne Baughman, Doug Blubaugh, Tommy Chesbro, Kendall Cross, Bob Dellinger, Tommy Evans, Ed Gallagher, Eddie Griffin, Art Griffith, Danny Hodge, David James, Kenny Monday, Yojiro Uetake Obata, Port Robertson, Myron Roderick, John Smith, Pat Smith, Jack VanBebber, and Wayne Wells. Baughman, Blubaugh, Chesbro, Cross, Dellinger, Evans, Gallagher, Griffith, Hodge, Monday, Obata, Robertson, Roderick, John Smith, Pat Smith, VanBebber, and Wells are all Distinguished Members of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

The International Sports Heritage Association (ISHA) announced during its virtual conference last week that a new Executive Administrator was hired for the association. The previous Executive Director, Karen Bednarski, announced she was stepping down to pursue other interests this past summer. After an exhaustive search by the executives on the board, we are happy to announce the hiring of Shane Mailman.

“We would like to thank Karen for her experience and support over the last 16 years.” said Dana Hart, ISHA President, “Karen has given ISHA a solid foundation and we are confident that Shane will do a wonderful job in continuing that success.”

Shane Mailman has been in the sport heritage industry for over half of his life. Living in Nova Scotia, Canada, Shane is currently the Director of Programs and Operations at the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame. He has been with the NSSHF for 24 years and has been involved in all aspects of the organization including management of the facility, museum, collections, programming, fundraising, event planning, and more. Shane has served on the ISHA board for the past three years and is the current president of the Canadian Association for Sport Heritage and has a long history working with boards and not-for-profits. Shane has stepped down from serving the ISHA board to serve as the associations Executive Administrator effective immediately.

With a passion for sport and preserving its history, Shane would like to share that he is, “excited to start this position with ISHA and continue to grow the organization. Karen Bednarski and the ISHA board have done a fantastic job over decades making ISHA the number one sport heritage organization in the world. To be involved in continuing this tradition, to work with and meet so many like-minded people, and to have members that are connected to some of the greatest sport franchises, moments, and athletes of all time, is truly an honor. I look forward to working with all of you and I can’t wait to get started!”

Shane Mailman can be reached at [email protected] for any of your ISHA needs.

ISHA Presents Annual Awards

Richard Johnson to receive ISHA’s Legacy Award

Richard A. Johnson, native of Worcester, MA, receives ISHA’s Legacy Award during its annual conference hosted virtually by the International Tennis Hall of Fame on October 27 and 28.

ISHA created the Legacy Award in 2018 to recognize an individual or organization located in the geographical area of the annual conference to provide an opportunity for the host to honor a local sports heritage contributor.

Johnson graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, ME where he was a member of the varsity cross country and indoor track teams. Johnson’s degree in Art History and passion for sports launched him into a successful and celebrated career. Since 1982, Johnson has served as Curator of the Sports Museum at TD Garden in Boston, MA when he joined as the museum’s first employee.

During his time at the Sports Museum, Johnson has curated exhibits on diverse topics including “Women in Sports, Insights from Her Past”, “Rocky Marciano, The Rock of His Times”, “Stylianos Kyriakides, The Human Race”, “Boston’s Braves 1876-1952”, “Fenway Park, From Duffy’s Cliff to the Green Monster”, “The World Cup” (in collaboration with The British Council), “The Sports Photographs of Leslie Jones”, among others.

In addition to his successful career at the Sports Museum, Johnson has authored or co-authored twenty-three books and served as a consultant on projects featuring The Boston Celtics, New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Cambridge Seven Associates, WGBH (local radio station in Boston), ESPN, HBO, and The Boston Museum of Science.

“For more than 40 years, Richard Johnson has served as the gatekeeper for the rich legacy of New England sports. His encyclopedic knowledge, finely crafted books, and generosity of spirit has enabled generations of New Englanders to embrace the sports legacy of New England. The Legacy Award is yet another well deserved recognition for Richard in an accomplished career serving as the steward for New England’s unparalleled sports tradition”.

Douglas Stark, Museum Director, International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Michael Gibbons to receive ISHA’s Schroeder Award

ISHA is excited to announce that Michael Gibbons with the 2021 Schroeder Award.  The W.R. “Bill” Schroeder Award is presented periodically and is the highest honor presented by ISHA.

Mike is a native Baltimorean and worked on a project to revitalize the Babe Ruth Birthplace, and in 1983 became its Executive Director.

Under Mike’s guidance, the Birthplace expanded its theme to include the Baltimore Orioles, Colts and Ravens, the Maryland Terrapins, and the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame. To house the expanding collection, the museum opened Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards, a virtual state sports museum, in 2005. Mike stepped down as executive director in 2017, but continues to work with the museum on exhibits, programming, media relations and the collection.

During his 38-year tenure at the museum, Mike has enjoyed a wide range of speaking appearances on Babe Ruth and Maryland sports including the Today Show, MLB Network, ESPN, Comcast, the National Baseball HOF, and local SABR chapters in Baltimore, Washington and NY.

“Those who inspire to be a leader can look at Mike’s career and dedication in raising and profiling sport within Maryland. His love and passion for sport and Babe is evident in every talk he gives. I want to congratulate Mike for this well-deserved award!”

Dana Hart, ISHA President

ISHY Awards

The ISHY Awards program was established to provide recognition for excellence in publications by all member sports museums, halls of fame or sports heritage organizations, regardless of size or budget, based upon a competition evaluated by ISHA members.

2021 ISHY Award Winners

Category B. Non-Book Publication (Under $250K)
Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame – Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Program

Category B. Non-Book Publication (Over $250K)
San Francisco 49ers, 49ers Museum Longform Series: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Category C. Marketing Materials – print materials (Over $250K)
USGA- Golf House Pinehurst

Category C. Marketing Materials – video/audio shorts (Under $250K)
National Polish American Sports Hall of Fame-NPASHF “About Us” video

Category C: Marketing Materials – video/audio shorts (Over $250K)
World of Little League® Museum and Official Store – Anderson (Gary, Ind.) Little League: The First All-Black Little League World Series Team

Category C. Marketing Materials – Social Media Account of the Year
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum – Tip your Cap Campaign

Category D. Educational Programming
The Patriots Hall of Fame presented by Raytheon Technologies – Patriots Hall of Fame virtual education program

Category E. HOF Inductions and/or Annual Event Materials (Under $250K)
Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame – Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Televised Special

Category E. HOF Inductions and/or Annual Event Materials (Over $250K)
Motorsports Hall of Fame of America – 2020 MSHFA Inductee Display Cases

Category F. New Exhibit (Under $50K)
Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum – Canadian Open Host Golf Club Exhibit

Category F: New Exhibit (Over $250K)
The Museum at the International Tennis Hall of Fame – Breaking the Barriers: The ATA and Black Tennis Pioneers

Category F. New Exhibit (between $50K-$250K)
Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame – Prairie Pride: A History of Saskatchewan Football

Category F. New Exhibit (Over $250K)
Northern Light Productions – Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame