The 8,000 square foot Chicago Sports Museum offers a highly interactive experience for visitors to explore the legends and lore of Chicago sports. It combines hi-tech interactive experiences—including skill challenges and simulated experiences—with unique sports memorabilia (think Sammy Sosa’s corked bat), and an impressive collection of game-used treasures and other artifacts.
“The Chicago Sports Museum is going to fill a hole in this sports-crazy town,” says David Kaplan, Sportscaster WGN Radio and Comcast SportsNet. “We have lots of great museums in Chicago, but nothing dedicated to sports. Fans are going to love it!”
“In such a sports-friendly city, The Chicago Sports Museum fills a cultural void that will please young and old alike,” said Mitchell Feldman, senior general manager of Water Tower Place. “This new anchor venue on Level 7 will give local and out-of-town guests an unparalleled sports experience.”
The exhibits, designed by Lincolnwood, Ill.-based Luci Creative and Chicago-based Next/Now, are organized around five major zones:
Guests start their tour with a series of one-of-a-kind interactive experiences where they can compare their abilities to the extraordinary strength, size and agility of many of Chicago’s finest athletes. Examples include measuring vertical leap compared to Michael Jordan (reportedly an astonishing 48 inches) and testing reaction time compared to the lightning speed of Hawks goalie Tony Esposito.
This area of the Museum demonstrates how CSI-type techniques can be used to unravel sports mysteries and separate fact from fiction. Over the years, Harry Caray’s has worked with the FBI, radiologists, chemists and other specialists to show that in the world of sports, things are not always as they appear. Guests can look inside Sammy Sosa’s corked bat, see how baseballs have changed over time and find out what happened to the puck that scored the winning goal for the Chicago Blackhawks in the last game of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The center of the Museum celebrates Chicago sports fans. Harry Caray himself was known as the greatest Chicago baseball fan of all time. A replica of the Wrigley Field broadcast booth will allow visitors to call a game like Harry, sing ”Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, or do their best Harry impersonation. Fans will also put their Chicago sports knowledge to the test with a giant interactive trivia game.
As guests enter this stone-clad room, they are immersed in the phenomenon of popular and lesser known sports “curses” as well as player superstitions and rituals. Visitors can learn about curses that have plagued Chicago sports teams as well as those around the world, and can then test their new knowledge with the Curses game. Guests can also hear directly from well-known Chicago athletes about their personal superstitions and rituals.
This gallery highlights Chicago’s Hall of Fame athletes and offers an array of “play with the legends” baseball, basketball, football and hockey interactive games, including:
• All-Star Home Run Contest as Hall of Fame White Sox slugger Frank Thomas
• Quarterback Challenge where players must avoid getting sacked by Hall of Famer and Super Bowl XX MVP Richard Dent
• Defending the Goal as Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane takes slap shots
• Shooting Hoops as Bulls Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen.
• Learn to Pitch with Kerry Wood, one of the most celebrated pitchers in Cubs history.