Large Format Takes The Subway To
by Scott Olivenbaum
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
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
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.