The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is the spiritual home of our National Pastime.
Inspired by a love for the Game, the Museum collects artifacts, information and stories of the game, from its earliest days to today, from youth leagues to future Hall of Famers.
What started as a one-room museum in 1939, has grown into a state-of-the art, 50,000-square foot history museum dedicated to baseball and its impact on American culture.
Over 75 years, the Museum has collected more than 3 million pieces for its library archive, including more than 250,000 photographs, 145,000 baseball cards, and 14,000 hours of recorded media, not to mention more than 40,000 artifacts in Museum collections.
Our collections and the Museum itself has been built on the generosity of those who love baseball. Everything in our collection is donated and financial support from generous fans around the world enables the Hall of Fame to preserve, archive, research, interpret, and share this priceless collection.
A Letter from Baseball Hall of Fame President, Jeff Idelson
Dear Baseball Fans,
Every time I walk into the archives here at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, I am awed by the historic artifacts, images and documents we have collected from our National Pastime.
With more than three million items representing baseball’s illustrious history, the Museum has acquired and preserved an unbelievable collection that brings our Game to life for baseball fans, like you and me. Each piece has its own story that needs to be shared.
And with your help, those stories will be told. We are undertaking one of the largest projects in Museum history and we need your help to make our strategic plan a reality.
Through the Hall of Fame Digital Archive Project, we will digitize the Museum collections and Library archive and offer you on-line access to more than 200 years of baseball history.
This project will allow every baseball fan, including students, educators and researchers, to access the Museum’s primary source materials, supporting learning and fostering a greater appreciate for the history of our National Pastime.
With your support, the Hall of Fame Digital Archive Project will have a profound impact on future generations of baseball fans who will be inspired by images and stories from Cooperstown, fueling their love for our Game.
Thanks to previous donations to protect and highlight the rich history of baseball in Cooperstown, more historic artifacts are collected, preserved and displayed than ever before. In fact, generous fans, teams and players continue to donate more than 300 artifacts and 900 library pieces annually.
Here are a few examples of priceless historic pieces that many baseball fans have never had the opportunity to see:
Currier and Ives political cartoon featuring Abe Lincoln, from the 1860 Presidential Election, showing baseball’s prevalence in the early American lexicon. B-248.50 (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)
Atlanta Braves home uniform shirt #44 worn by Hank Aaron on April 8, 1974 when he broke Babe Ruth's career home run record with his 715th homer in the 4th inning vs. Los Angeles Dodgers - B-5.87 (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)
Imagine viewing countless artifacts and images for the first time – and reliving the moments and memories each item captures -- through the Hall of Fame Digital Archive Project.
The image of Gabby Hartnett, Hall of Fame Class of 1955, was taken by Charles Conlon, the principal photographer for the leading illustrated baseball guides during the early decades of the 20th century.
One small example of our recent preservation work -- a photograph of Gabby Hartnett. BL-1519-68WT (Charles M. Conlon / National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)
We recovered more than 1,000 of his photographs from the morgues of New York City newspapers, many had been marked up in preparation for publication, obscuring the beauty of the original image.
Professional conservation treatment by specially-trained technicians has allowed us to bring the faces and personalities of the players captured in these images back to life.
Our efforts with the Conlon images is just one small example of our broad initiative to connect you to an on-line database of photographs, ephemera and artifacts from the Museum’s historic collection.
We take our responsibility to secure and share the history of our National Pastime seriously.
And we know you do too. That’s why fans like you have been so generous in your support to ensure that baseball history is preserved for future generations.
As you plan your annual gift to support our mission to preserve history, honor excellence and connect generations, I hope you will consider an additional contribution to help fund the Hall of Fame Digital Archive Project.
On behalf of our Board of Directors and our team here in Cooperstown, thank you for your continued generosity and support. We are so excited to have you in our line-up to help bring baseball history to light like never before.
Through the Hall of Fame’s Membership Program, baseball fans from around the country and around the world can help preserve, honor and connect the National Pastime for generations to come, while receiving great benefits including free admission year-round and a subscription to Memories and Dreams magazine.
Gifts of objects associated with baseball's history are essential to the growth and educational potential of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and artifacts are actively sought. Past donations have provided the Museum with the outstanding collection that continues to appeal to all generations from varied backgrounds throughout the world.
There are, however, many great stories from the past and present which need acknowledgment in Cooperstown. The Hall of Fame acquires appropriate objects for its collection solely through gifts from the general public and amateur and professional baseball organizations. Baseball enthusiasts and historians are always welcome to contribute to the Museum's holdings and become an active participant in the Hall of Fame's future.