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Jason Aikens - Collections Curator
Jason can often be found with white gloves on as he handles football memorabilia with the same care of centuries old pieces of art. The Hall's collection of artifacts is the largest of its kind in the world. It's under Jason's watch that this sacred collection is preserved using strict museum standards.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is always looking for ways to reach out to other communities and give fans a taste of Canton. We are reaching internationally on October 25 for the 2009 NFL International Series that is the third annual regular season NFL game played at Wembley Stadium in London.
This year’s game is between the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and will feature a Pregame Fan Tailgate party with a special exhibit from the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the history professional football. The exhibit will feature artifacts from all decades of professional football ranging from a nose guard from the turn of the 19th Century to Jim Brown’s jersey from the ‘60s to more recently pieces of memorabilia like Tom Brady’s 2007 uniform.
This is the first time that the Pro Football Hall of Fame has had an exhibit overseas. We’ve had exhibits in Canada but never outside North America. Here’s some more information on the event:
Yours truly will be setting up the exhibit. Wish me luck. I’ve never been to Europe. Any suggestions on what to see would be greatly appreciated. Preferably, I’m interested in what to see after 5:00 PM because I’ll be working hard for the NFL during the day.
I know many of you are not able to travel all the way to London, England to get a taste of Canton but there is a very good possibility that you could have a Pro Football Hall of Fame exhibit right in your home town. Recently, we launched our new traveling exhibit program and right now our traveling exhibit “Pro Football and the American Spirit” is available to museums around the country.
The exhibit chronicles how the NFL has responded in times of national crisis and honors all the former NFL players who have served in conflicts for our country’s military. (Here's our online exhibit that shares a bit of the story). The exhibit begins with World War II and all the hundreds of players who served in the military at that time. One interesting side note to World War II that few people realize was that Pearl Harbor was attacked on an NFL Sunday (Sunday, December 7, 1941). Featured in the World War II section is a New York Giants against the Brooklyn Dodgers program from that infamous day in our nation’s history. The exhibit includes artifacts from such players as Hall of Famer Art Donovan who served in World War II, Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins quarterback Eddie LeBaron who served in Korea, and Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Rocky Bleier who served in Vietnam.
The exhibit concludes with Pat Tillman’s Arizona Cardinals jersey and his Army Ranger Jacket. As many of you know, Tillman turned down a chance to renew a lucrative contract with the Cardinals in 2002 in order to serve his country in the Army. He later lost his life in Afghanistan. The “Pro Football and the American Spirit” exhibit is one of the most impactful and moving exhibits we have ever had at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It debuted last year in our traveling exhibit gallery and is now available for other museums. We hope to have a new traveling exhibit debut at the Pro Football Hall of Fame each year and then travel that exhibit from five to six years around the country.
If you are interested in having the “Pro Football and the American Spirit” exhibit come to your town, contact your local museum and tell them about it. Tell them you don’t want to travel all the way to London to see a Hall of Fame traveling exhibit. The exhibit is a great way for museums to honor our nation’s veterans. For more information on the exhibit click on this link: http://www.profootballhof.com/AmericanSpirit.aspx