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Jackie Robinson Museum honoring baseball, civil rights icon opens in NYC

The museum includes 4,500 artifacts and 40,000 historical images of the famed baseball player.

Treasured items capturing Jackie Robinson’s life and legacy are now on display for the world to see. 

A heartfelt ribbon-cutting ceremony brought to life the new Jackie Robinson Museum in New York City’s Lower Manhattan Tuesday afternoon. Robinson’s widow, Rachel, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday, cut the ribbon while New York City Mayor Eric Adams delivered remarks in the presence of Robinson’s family and other guests, including tennis star Billie Jean King and filmmaker Spike Lee.

Image: Rachel Robinson, wife of Jackie Robinson, enters the newly-opened Jackie Robinson Museum, on July 26, 2022, in New York.
Rachel Robinson, wife of Jackie Robinson, enters the newly-opened Jackie Robinson Museum, on July 26, 2022, in New York.Julia Nikhinson / AP

The Jackie Robinson Museum chronicles the life of Robinson, who made history as the first Black Major League Baseball player on April 15, 1947. 

Opening to the public on Sept. 5, the 19,380-square-foot museum will feature 4,500 artifacts collected by Robinson’s family and friends, including his Presidential Medal of Freedom and his Brooklyn Dodgers uniform. The exhibit will also showcase more than 40,000 historical images and over 450 hours of video footage highlighting his baseball career, commitment to social justice and cultural roots.

Image:
An exhibit is shown at the Jackie Robinson Museum, on July 26, 2022, in New York.Julia Nikhinson / AP
Image: Exhibits are shown at the Jackie Robinson Museum that opened on July 26, 2022, in New York.
Exhibits are shown at the Jackie Robinson Museum that opened on July 26, 2022, in New York.Julia Nikhinson / AP

“Some of the things we grew up with now have huge historical significance, and the museum is a place for everyone to see it, and much, much more,” Robinson’s son, David, told The New York Times. “It will be a marvel of modern information delivery.” Robinson added that he believes his father “would be thrilled to have his accomplishments showcased.” 

Meanwhile, Rachel Robinson had a specific vision for the museum. According to Della Britton, president and chief executive of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, Robinson’s widow  wanted it to be a gathering space but also a place that would spark conversations about race. Britton said this project is significant because it is among the few civil rights museums to exist in New York City.

Image: Rachel Robinson, wife of Jackie Robinson, is shown at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the Jackie Robinson Museum, on July 26, 2022, in New York.
Rachel Robinson, wife of Jackie Robinson, is shown at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the Jackie Robinson Museum, on July 26, 2022, in New York.Julia Nikhinson / AP

The Jackie Robinson Museum was  a project years in the making. Although it was first announced in 2008, the opening was stalled due to the lack of funding and pandemic-related issues. However, the Jackie Robinson Foundation — first established in 1973 by Rachel Robinson to provide scholarships for Black students — was able to get the project back on track by raising $38 million for the construction of the venue.  

Now that the museum is a reality, come September visitors will be able to look at the work of Jackie and Rachel Robinson, who were both active in the civil rights movement and sought positive change for Black people.

“It was such an important period of history that the museum encapsulates,” David Robinson told The New York Times. “If we don’t have a remembrance of that struggle, we lose touch with a significant period of American history that can help guide us today and it is a tribute to all the people who have taken my mother’s desire and made it happen.”

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