Magazine Article


Large Format Takes The Subway To Cooperstown

Large Format Takes The Subway To Cooperstown
by Scott Olivenbaum

The Hall of Fame does much of their work in-house.

There is a quiet little town in a quiet little part of upstate New York. Rather unassuming, driving through it could be like driving through any small town ... in the early 1900s. Lacking any major corporations, whether it be big-chain retailers or fast food slingers, there appears to be not all that much to make this town a hot spot on any map.

But there is one thing. One central point that makes people flock on regular pilgrimages. It is a building of such holiness to its followers that they are called fanatics.

It is the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Legions of fans relive some of the great moments from baseball's past as they walk the floor and see displays of heroes and scapegoats, winners and losers, and, most importantly of all, instances of great elation and great sadness.

The most recent of those moments frozen in time was last year's World Series. The Subway Series between the New York Mets and the New York Yankees brought the city of New York to life as people clamored to represent their half of the civil war. While there was sentiment around the rest of the nation to ignore it, the influence managed to extend to more rural areas. In fact, over 200 miles away, people were paying very close attention. VP and chief curator of the Hall Ted Spencer, along with the rest of the museum's staff, knew that this series was worthy of inclusion with the rest of the memories contained in Cooperstown.

"Management of the Hall of Fame as a group thought it was a good idea but not one person or one group came up with the idea that we should do it, it just became one of those things," Spencer said.

To put the exhibit together things were not as quick a task. They had to collect information, images, materials, and artifacts about the history of New York baseball and previous Subway series. The curators worked with the four-person staff of the lab (two designers and two technicians) to get things together.

"We already had a collection of cases, we had a space that lended itself very nicely so what we did was mostly graphics," Spencer explained. "We went on the Web and selected the different series back in the 20s, and went through photographs of the evolution of the subway system in New York as background material."

Last year wasn't the first Subway Series.

Once they had the historical information and pictures, they created a name and logo with which people could identify the display - calling it "Underground Movement: A History of the Subway Series." They then designed a visual timeline of the Subway Series from 1889 through 2000, a big wall display of the 2000 series and several text panels to identify the memorabilia.

With the design finished, what remained was for those graphics to be printed out on foamcore with their Encad Pro 42E. The foamcore would then be laminated with a 12-plus-year-old Seal laminator. Despite its age, the laminator has proven very useful, and very necessary.

"We used the Seal probably more in the last year than ever before," Director of Exhibits Mary Quinn said. "The laminates are needed for protection because fingerprints and moisture aren't good for the images. It's also helpful to stop fading."

To stop their equipment and work from fading into obscurity with the industry constantly moving forward, the museum staff is looking towards upgrading what they have.

"We move with the growth of the technology," Spencer said. "Right now the printer we have is 42 inches wide and when the lease is up we are going to go to something wider so we can do even more things. We are monitoring technology and whatever makes sense financially we will propose."

Spencer doubts that the proposal to the Hall's management will fall upon deaf ears.

"I think what we have done is proven that the technology pays for itself, not only in the amount of money that you save from going outside but in the attention to the special needs and requirements for each design and the time in turning the image around," he said. "If there is a change in the last minute, we have the capability to fix that."

Prior to the set up of the lab over two years ago, they did not have the option to make last second changes; work was sent out to various other sites, including a lab in Albany, N.Y.

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