‘Hit the books’ at Turner Field

Atlanta Braves Museum and Hall of Fame

08/09/2011
Field Trip Destination
Carolyn Serra

The Atlanta Braves are Major League Baseball’s oldest continuously operating franchise. They began in Boston, Mass., in 1871, moved to Milwaukee, Wis., in 1953, and finally to Atlanta, Ga., in 1966. They have been around longer than the Coca-Cola Company (1886), Georgia Tech (1885), and the Georgia Capitol Building (1889). They have also won a World Series in each of the three cities they have played (1914-Boston, 1957-Milwaukee, 1995-Atlanta). image

The last stop on the tour, before returning to the museum, is the Braves dugout. Students can actually grab a seat where their favorite players, like Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and Jason Heyward, sit during games.

In 1996, after the Olympic and Paralympic Games came to an end, and the 80,000 seat Olympic Stadium was being retrofitted to an intimate 50,000 seat ballpark, the team thought it was important to create a museum to honor the franchise’s rich history.

In 1997, the Braves Museum and Hall of Fame (BMHF) opened in conjunction with Turner Field and now serves as the starting and ending point of one-hour guided tours of the ballpark that take guests to many areas off limits during games.

Besides the regular walk-up tours, the BMHF offers specialized tours designed for children from kindergarten through 12th grade to test and expand their knowledge while providing a behind-the-scenes look at Atlanta’s very own field of dreams. There are currently four different school tours offered:

Classic Tour

This is the basic tour of Turner Field, which provides information on the history of the ballpark and team. Stops include Sky Field, the press box, broadcast booth, dugout, and clubhouse (locker room).

Mathematics Tour

Baseball is a game of numbers. This tour gives students an introduction to some of the statistics in baseball and how they are calculated and used during games, while visiting all the areas listed above on the Classic Tour. Teachers can also request specific areas they want to focus on to complement their work in the classroom — ie. division, multiplication and problem solving.

Baseball and Civil Rights Tour

Turner Field hosted the Civil Rights Game in 2011 and will do it again in 2012. This tour teaches students about baseball’s impact on the civil rights movement and about Hank Aaron and his lesson on “Chasing the Dream.”

Careers in Sports Tour

This tour is targeted towards high school students and provides a general overview and perspective of different career opportunities available in the sports industry, specifically Major League Baseball.

The museum, with more than 700 Braves’ artifacts and photographs, is divided into three sections based on where the team has played.

The Atlanta section begins with a 14-minute video on the Atlanta Braves with a photo opportunity on the original dugout bench from Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium (AFCS). Hank Aaron’s 715th home run bat and ball, the 1995 World Series trophy, and more than 200 items from the Braves unprecedented 14 Straight Division Championships (1991-2005) can be seen in this area.

The Milwaukee section showcases numerous artifacts from the 1957 World Series and also features a portion of a 1954 Baltimore & Ohio railroad car. Students are able to walk through the car and listen to an audiotape of baseball great Hank Aaron and broadcast legend Ernie Johnson describe their experiences riding on trains with the team.

In the Boston section students learn the different names the Braves were originally called — the Red Stockings, Bean-
eaters, Doves, Rustlers and Bees — which are outlined by the “What’s in a Name?” display. Along with more than 10 different Boston jerseys, this area also includes exhibits on the 1914 and 1948 World Series, Babe Ruth as a Brave, and Braves that served in the military.

The museum is just the beginning of the experience as the one hour guided ballpark tour allows students to get an up close look at many unique places in the ballpark with numerous photo opportunities throughout the tour route.

Some of the main highlights are the 49-foot tall Coke bottle, which can produce 16 million different colors. And, a 15,000 pound fiberglass and steel, 40-foot tall tomahawk-chopping Chik-fil-A Cow. Students will also see what was once considered the “world’s largest hi-definition television screen” by the Guinness Book of World Records at 72 feet by 80 feet.

The press box gives students a chance to see where media sit during games, and in the broadcast booth kids learn what goes on during a televised game.

The Braves Clubhouse is the ultimate highlight of the tour, and is open on days when the team is out of town and during the off-season. It is 20,000 square feet and includes a kitchen, weight room, laundry room, trainer’s room, players lounge, X-ray room and sauna.

The last stop on the tour, before returning to the museum, is the Braves dugout. Students can actually grab a seat where their favorite players, like Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and Jason Heyward, sit during games.

Besides being an educational experience, the tour is full of fun and can be enjoyed by students of all ages. Whether you’re a baseball fan or not, Turner Field is one of Atlanta’s top tourist attractions and is sure to provide you with plenty of memories and photographs that you’ll never forget.

For more information on education programs for students and teachers, visit braves.com or call 404-614-2311.
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