Who are Sports Museum Workers?

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Want to work in a sports museum? Sports museums and halls of fame in North America stretch from Winnipeg (Aquatic Hall of Fame and Museum) and Toronto (Canada's Sports Hall of Fame) to Fort Lauderdale (International Swimming Hall of Fame) and Daphne, Alaska. (The American Sport Art Museum and Archives). They stretch from coast to coast, encompassing Cooperstown, N.Y. (National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum), and Springfield, Massachusetts (Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame) in the East through Canton, Ohio (Professional Football Hall of Fame) and Stillwater, Oklahoma (National Wrestling Hall of Fame) in the Heartland to Vancouver (British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum) and San Diego (San Diego Hall of Champions) in the West. And they all (close to a hundred facilities) need employees!

Typical is the College Football Hall of Fame in Kings Island, Ohio. The facility houses several exhibitions, serves as a resource center for inquiries on the sport, and contains a library.

Most museums have film/video showings and other interesting activities. Most museum personnel fall into two categories: the business group and the professional/creative staff. The businesspeople manage the financial aspects of the facility (budgeting, fund raising, promotion, and advertising), while members of the creative staff design shows, assist visitors, direct library and reference services, and generally make the museum a fun and educational place for guests. The museum or hall of fame exists to honor a sport and translate the joy of it to others. The number of employees varies with the popularity and size of the museum.

For those interested in business positions, a regular college business program with a major in marketing or management would prove beneficial. Those with course work and/or special skills in fund raising, public relations, and managing public (nonprofit) organizations will have an edge in garnering jobs.

Programs also exist for those on the museum's technical side. For example, Baylon University, the University of Southern California, and other schools offer programs in museum studies. Write to any college in which you are interested and ask about museum studies options.

Sports Facilities Architects, Engineers, and Drafting Specialists

1. The Skydome in Toronto

2. Pilot Field in Buffalo

3. The Camden Yards Twin Stadium Complex in Baltimore

4. The Florida Sun coast Dome in St. Petersburg

5. New Comiskey Park in Chicago

These sports facilities are but a small sample of the recent sports projects constructed in North America. These structures, and numerous others on college campuses, provide wonderful opportunities for employment for people with special training in engineering, architecture, and drafting.

Growing fan attendance, desire to upgrade older facilities and continued expansion of professional franchises has resulted in a surge of new facilities and restructuring of existing ones. Individuals who combine a love of sports with specialized skills and knowledge will have the opportunity to personally have an impact on the game(s) they admire. Architects, engineers, and often public relations specialists work on the initial design with the facility's owner. Speaking and interpersonal skills remain critical for these positions because often political leaders, voters, and others need explanations of the structure-and oftentimes of related costs and construction delays. Drafting specialists work as part of the design team under the supervision of architects and engineers.

A leading organization in the area of sports facilities design is Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (HOK). Located in Kansas City, this organization and its team of sports architects and related personnel (drafters, secretaries, and others) study "the feasibility, design, and development of sports and spectator facilities." The group's successes include Bradley Center Area (Milwaukee), Memphis Downs Race Track (Memphis), Joe Robbie Stadium (Dade County, Florida.), The Alamo Dome (SanAntonio), University of Delaware Sports and Convocation Center (Newark, Delaware), New Comiskey Park (Chicago), and Pilot Field (Buffalo).

If this exciting field interests you, consider attending college and studying architecture or engineering. These careers require a demanding academic program. A quicker, but less lucrative, route might be studying drafting at a trade or technical school or community college. All of these individuals must not only have a great knowledge of their profession, but also an in depth knowledge and love of sports. For example, Ron Labinski of the HOK Sports Facilities Design Team on a visit to the Kansas City Chiefs' Arrowhead Stadium, where he served as project architect, noticed that the ceiling tiles had been removed above the taping tables. Upon further investigation, he found that the tiles had been taken out because many football players liked to stand on the athletic training tables for the taping of their ankles. Consequently, when involved with the development of Giants Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands, Labinski designed the ceilings two feet higher!

People planning on entering this career should integrate courses in sports studies into their school/college program, whenever possible, and maintain an ongoing interest in sports. In addition, they should gear course projects and field experiences toward sports facilities.
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