Renovated National Baseball Hall of Fame Grandstand Theater Hosts Formal Dedication
July 27, 2018
The newly-renovated Grandstand Theater in the National Baseball Hall of Fame is now a modern, innovative facility equipped with state-of-the-art digital technologies. Originally opened in 1939, the National Baseball Hall of Fame was created to honor the heroes of America’s favorite pastime. Now, the Hall of Fame is the keeper of the game, containing more than 40,000 three-dimensional artifacts donated by players and fans alike.
Designed by Populous, the theater has a seating capacity of 196. The previous wooden ballpark benches were replaced with rich, cushioned Bordeaux-colored seats. Several design elements celebrate the tradition of the museum and baseball itself, such as the brass wall detailing, bronze railings, ash seats and Hall-of-Fame trademarked cast bronze bats. The renovated theater includes a Dolby Atmos surround sound system donated by Dolby Laboratories, a state-of-the-art 4K projector donated by Christie Digital and 16-foot-tall side wall monitors designed to enhance the movie experience. Additionally, a custom masking movie screen provides a flexible and premium viewing experience.
“Baseball fans come to the Hall of Fame looking for that ‘wow’ moment, and the new Generations of the Game introductory film, shown in the beautifully renovated and state-of-the-art Grandstand Theater, sets the stage and delivers an emotional foundation for a memorable Museum experience,” said Jeff Idelson, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Inspired by the existing museum railings, the cavernous ramped entry allows visitors glimpses into the theater through windows featuring cast bronze bats. The new theater features acoustic maple wood wall panels for an optimized sound experience. Seats in the front rows are configured for “theatre-in-the-semi-round” viewing, providing an intimate experience. Discreet, indirect lighting highlights various architectural details while adding to the overall ambiance. Equipped with motorized rigging, complete theatrical show lighting and integrated controls allows the theater to host live shows, all concealed by the floating ceiling plane to create a unified sense of space.
“The theater modernization blends state-of-the-art digital technologies with materials of the game, each enabling the Hall of Fame to take a significant step forward while remaining connected to the history of baseball,” said Senior Principal Jonathan Mallie, Populous’ principal-in-charge for the project.
Along with the renovations, the theater features a new film called “Generations of the Game.” The film, produced by board member Thomas Tull, was written by renowned author Joe Posnanski and directed by filmmaker Jonathan Hock. The film is voiced by former stars such as Hank Aaron, Tom Seaver and Derek Jeter as well as current players such as Bryce Harper and Clayton Kershaw.
The Grandstand Theater reopened on May 25, 2018, over the Hall of Fame Classic Weekend. The formal dedication ceremony occurs on July 27, 2018, over the Hall of Fame Induction Weekend.
This project continues Populous’ impact on Major League Baseball. To date, Populous has designed over 20 ballparks for major league teams, having recently designed SunTrust Park in Atlanta, Marlins Park in Miami, Target Field in Minneapolis and Yankee Stadium in New York City. The firm also recently released renderings for the Tampa Bay Ray’s new ballpark aiming to open by the 2023 season.