Visiting Cooperstown and the National Baseball Hall of Fame

Updated on March 9, 2020
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Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures and experiences and makes the world a more tolerant place.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum | Source

If you are a fan of the game of baseball, then undoubtedly you have either been or have thought about a visit to this shrine to the great game of baseball. Located in the somewhat remote, but beautiful, upstate New York town of Cooperstown, the Baseball Hall of Fame is a must-do for any fan of the game. The beautiful and stately brick building that holds the history of the game within its walls sits appropriately on Main Street. Once you enter this monument to America’s national pastime, you are transformed back in time to relive the most important and historical moments that the game has to offer.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is spread out over three spacious floors with more than 38,000 artifacts collected since it opened in 1939. The museum offers something for everyone, and we’ll talk a little about some of the exhibits. The museum recommends that visitors start on the second floor and work up to the third floor before concluding their visit on the first floor that holds the Hall of Fame Gallery. This tribute to the greats of the game contains the 333 bronze plagues of all of the inductees.

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Baseball Hall of Fame and MuseumBaseball Hall of Fame and Museum - 2011 Inductees
Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum | Source
Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum - 2011 Inductees
Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum - 2011 Inductees | Source

The Second Floor

The second floor of the museum contains some great exhibits. It all starts with a 13-minute multimedia presentation in the Grandstand theatre that preps visitors for the history they are about to experience. From here, visitors can leisurely stroll through Taking the Field, an exhibit that features the early days of the game in the 19th century. A timeline of the 20th century follows that explores the history of baseball by generation while detailing the players, teams, and historic moments. This area of the museum pays special tribute to some of the most important stories of baseball, including the Babe Ruth Room, the Women in Baseball exhibit, and the African-American Baseball experience. My favorite exhibit of the second floor is the Today’s Game exhibit that features a locker with artifacts from all 30 major league teams in addition to some items from the most recent season. Items include uniforms, hats, gloves, photos, and much more. And with every team having a locker, no one leaves this room disappointed.

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Red Sox lockerThe Babe!Ruth and GehrigRuth and GehrigYazCurt Schilling shoes
Red Sox locker
Red Sox locker | Source
The Babe!
The Babe! | Source
Ruth and Gehrig
Ruth and Gehrig | Source
Ruth and Gehrig
Ruth and Gehrig | Source
Yaz | Source
Curt Schilling shoes
Curt Schilling shoes | Source

The Third Floor

The third floor of the museum starts visitors off with a look at the ball fields of the past and present. This leads visitors to the Hank Aaron-Chasing the Dream exhibit that pays tribute to Aaron, while detailing his life from childhood through his baseball career right up to his present-day activities. Next up, appropriately, is the Records Room that shows visitors the all-time leaders in virtually every statistical category. If you’re a numbers person, then this is the room for you. While here, make note of the very small and unassuming display to Barry Bonds and his home run record. I particularly enjoyed the record-setting home run ball with the asterisk on it; make sure you look for it.

Also on the third floor is the Autumn Glory Room that highlights the great teams and moments of the postseason. Next up is the Baseball Card room that displays just a sampling of the museums 135,000 baseball cards. And just when you thought you were done, visitors are presented with a display showcasing every World Series ring. For you long-suffering Red Sox fans, this should be quite a treat.

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A piece of historyHank Aaron Number 715Hank AaronThe 3000 Hit ClubGame 6, 1975 World Series.  Oh what a night.Gehrig and DimaggioBaseball Card heaven
A piece of history
A piece of history | Source
Hank Aaron Number 715
Hank Aaron Number 715 | Source
Hank Aaron
Hank Aaron | Source
The 3000 Hit Club
The 3000 Hit Club | Source
Game 6, 1975 World Series.  Oh what a night.
Game 6, 1975 World Series. Oh what a night. | Source
Gehrig and Dimaggio
Gehrig and Dimaggio | Source
Baseball Card heaven
Baseball Card heaven | Source

The First Floor

The first floor of the museum contains a number of exhibits including an interesting art exhibit, a baseball at the movies room, and Inductee Row which celebrates the newest class of Hall of Famers. But the highlight of the day belongs to the Hall of Fame Gallery, where each inductee has his bronze plague displayed. Enjoy the experience of searching out the plagues of your favorite players. The walls of the Hall of Fame Gallery are a who’s who of baseball and a fitting tribute to the athletes who have helped create our love affair with the game.

If you haven’t been to Cooperstown to see the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum hopefully you are now inspired to make the journey. I am fortunate to live in New England and have made the 3 1/2 hour drive on two occasions. It’s not easy to get to Cooperstown, but for those of you who have a visit to this Mecca of Baseball on your bucket list I can assure you that you will not be disappointed

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Carl Yastrzemski and Johnny BenchRicky Henderson and Jim RiceRyne Sandberg and Wadd BoggsThe First ClassLou GehrigBabe RuthJim RiceCarl YastrzemskiThe Hall of Fame GalleryCarl Yastrzemski and Jim Palmer
Carl Yastrzemski and Johnny Bench
Carl Yastrzemski and Johnny Bench | Source
Ricky Henderson and Jim Rice
Ricky Henderson and Jim Rice | Source
Ryne Sandberg and Wadd Boggs
Ryne Sandberg and Wadd Boggs | Source
The First Class
The First Class | Source
Lou Gehrig
Lou Gehrig | Source
Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth | Source
Jim Rice
Jim Rice | Source
Carl Yastrzemski
Carl Yastrzemski | Source
The Hall of Fame Gallery
The Hall of Fame Gallery | Source
Carl Yastrzemski and Jim Palmer
Carl Yastrzemski and Jim Palmer | Source

Tips for Visiting

  • Visit in the offseason. This may not be possible for everyone, especially if visiting with kids. If you must go in the summer, shoot for a weekday. Our last visit was on a Saturday in early December, and we had the whole place to ourselves.
  • Follow the advice of the museum and save the Hall of Fame Gallery for the end of your visit. It’s a fitting way to conclude your visit to the Hall of Fame.
  • If you are a member of AAA, flash that card and save 10% on the entry fee. If you’re spending the day, take a break and have lunch at one of the area’s cafes, everything is within walking distance in Cooperstown. Be sure to get your hand stamped if you leave so that you can return.
  • Bring that camera and make sure you have plenty of memory. My first visit to Cooperstown was in the pre-digital camera era, and upon returning home, I discovered that I had no film in the camera. Uggh. It's the only time I have ever done that! I didn’t make that mistake this time, of course, it’s much easier nowadays with digital cameras

Doubleday Cafe, great spot for lunch
Doubleday Cafe, great spot for lunch | Source

Questions & Answers

  • What is the dress code for visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame?

    There is no dress code that I am aware of. On our two visits, I wore shorts and a collared shirt and was fine. I recall seeing visitors in shorts and t-shirts, so I think any casual clothing will suffice.

  • Will my dog be permitted inside the Baseball Hall of Fame?

    Service dogs are allowed in the Baseball Hall of Fame. If your dog is not a service dog I do not think they will be allowed into the museum.

© 2012 Bill De Giulio


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    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Patrick. I 've been twice and can't wait to return again. It's an amazing place. Thanks for stopping by and welcome to HubPages.

    • Patrick Howes profile image

      Patrick Howes 

      5 years ago from Fresno, CA

      I went to Cooperstown a few years ago and it was an awesome experience! A whole day isn't enough to truly see everything, I can't wait to go back!

    • baseballbrains profile image


      8 years ago

      This is great, I've always wanted to go.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      8 years ago from Massachusetts

      Wow, that's great. Never went up there for an induction. Maybe we'll give it a try?

    • MarkRFox profile image


      8 years ago

      I was there in 09' for the induction of Rickey Henderson and Jimmy Rice. Interesting place. All the players walking down the streets. I met Billy Buckner, who gave me his autograph for free, which as a Red Sox fan was priceless. We also got bats signed by Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson, and my favorite all time hitter, Pete Rose, but we had to pay for those at signings. Good stuff though.


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