Picturing America’s Pastime opened at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in the fall of 2013. Co-curated by Senior Curator Tom Shieber and Assistant Photo Archivist Jenny Ambrose, the exhibit features more than 50 images produced from originals preserved in the museum's Photo Archive.
Accompanying many of the photographs are related artifacts, pieces of history that help bring the images to life. “It’s a cliché to say that a picture is worth a thousand words. They’re really worth much more,” Shieber said. “Images tell stories that go well beyond words.”
The Hall of Fame’s curatorial team began preparation for the exhibit with hundreds of images in mind before culling them down, step by step. The process was a grueling one thanks to the strength of the Library’s photo collection. Then the curators researched every photo, some of which had never been so thoroughly examined, revealing new information and rich details.
“This is not necessarily a selection of the greatest photos,” Shieber said. “The idea is to show the breadth and depth of the photo collection at the Hall of Fame. And we’re not just talking about baseball between the lines. Any way you slice or dice baseball, we can show it through a photograph because our collection is so extensive.”
So extensive, in fact, that the exhibit could have been twice the size if that much space was available. “It shows how impressive a collection we have when a great exhibit is left on the cutting room floor,” said Jenny Ambrose. “Baseball grew up with photography, and this is just a small selection from the greatest public repository of baseball photography in the world: The Hall of Fame archive.”