General Published on : 7/2/2003

 PHOTO GALLERY: Hall of Fame Gallery opening coincides with GameDay Premiere

It's been more than two years in design and development, but now it's complete. The 221 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame have a new home. Last evening, the Pro Football Hall of Fame officially opened its new Hall of Fame Gallery with a private event emceed by CBS' Sports' Todd Blackledge. Representing the inductees was Hall of Fame linebacker Willie Lanier.

Coinciding with the gallery opening was the premiere of the updated Championship Chase film which now features the exciting Super Bowl run by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The film is showed exclusively in the the Hall's spectacular GameDay Stadium rotating theater. On hand for the premiere representing the Super Bowl XXXVII champions was Bucs' wide receiver Joe Jurevicius. Joining Jurevicius was Phil Tuckett, Vice-President of Special Projects for NFL Films who produced the film.

"The $1.7 million Hall of Fame Gallery provides an exciting new look to our heart and soul - the area where Hall of Fame members are individually honored with their bronzed likeness," explained Hall of Fame Executive Director John Bankert. "The new gallery has transformed a relatively static exhibition area into a wide open, awe-inspiring space that provides visitors with an optimum interactive experience." 

Bankert called the new gallery, "the most dramatic exhibit change in the Hall's 40-year history."

"This is where the flame was lighted, and this is where it burns brightest." - Phil Tuckett describing the Hall of Fame

The use of bronze portrait busts in the gallery, often cited as something that separates the Pro Football Hall of Fame from other sports museums, continues. The dramatically lit bronze likenesses and the use of elegant and timeless forms and materials have created a space with a sense of wonderment and reverence. At the same time, new high-interest interactive elements have been introduced to enhance the visitor experience.

The "interactive experience" is provided through six high-tech touch-screen kiosks, each of which can access a universe of information from the archives of the Hall of Fame and NFL Films. Visitors, with a touch of the screen, can retrieve biographical profiles, photos, illustrations, and film clips on every Hall of Fame member.

"Having the Hall of Fame Gallery project completed at this time is especially significant," adds Bankert, "This year we are celebrating our 40th Anniversary. As a part of the celebration, the Hall of Fame and the NFL have invited every Hall of Famer to return to Canton during the Hall of Fame Weekend (August 2-4) to participate in what we're calling the NFL Homecoming."

Bankert stated that 109 of the 144 living members have accepted an invitation to the reunion and expects about five or six more to respond shortly.

Jurevicius was especially excited to relive the Bucs' Super Bowl XXXVII victory in GameDay Stadium. Before previewing the film, he described the incredible season he enjoyed in 2002 to a crowd of nearly 300 invited guests. "Everything I ever worked for in my career and my teammates became a reality," commented the Cleveland area native.