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National Wrestling Hall of Fame announces Beyond the Walls: Reaching Tomorrow’s Wrestlers Today campaign



STILLWATER, Okla. - The National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum has announced a new campaign to raise funds for key priorities now and into the future.

The campaign is called: Beyond the Walls: Reaching Tomorrow’s Wrestlers Today. It was announced during a special press conference on the first day of 2011 Honors Week at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum

“Several years ago, our board went through a lengthy process of developing a long range plan that would advance the Hall’s mission well into the 21st century. We are announcing a campaign this week that will fund these long range priorities and move us into the future,” said Lee Roy Smith, Executive Director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame Board of Governors has identified and adopted four initiatives which this campaign is seeking to fund.

As part of this plan, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s museums in Stillwater, Okla., and Waterloo, Iowa are slated for renovation. Both museums will be reconfigured and redesigned to include the latest interactive displays to entertain visitors, honor champions, engage youth and, most importantly, expand outreach. Always present in that decision was a passion to perpetuate the future of our sport.

“We are going to package our sports heritage with new media and technology and deploy it to target audiences everywhere,” said Smith.

INITIATIVE I - Expand and update the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum

Our urgency is not just to renovate, but to reinvent this tribute to the greatest sport on earth. We’ll do this by attracting younger visitors with interactive exhibits and vivid media. Imagine children walking through the renovated Hall of Honors … by way of a technique theater encountering exhibits about heroic everyday Americans who became Olympic and NCAA wrestling legends. Touch-screen displays and movies will enable them to relive thousands of years beginning with the first Olympic Games held in Greece.

“We are excited to announce that we have raised $2.3 million toward the $3.4 million renovation of the Museum in Stillwater. We anticipate completing our funding drive for this initiative by the end of this year,” said Stan Zeamer, Chair of the Beyond the Walls Campaign Committee.

INITIATIVE II – Renovate the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum

The Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, Iowa, is ready for a modern look. The focus will be on engaging children with interactive exhibits, artifacts and media. What will remain here is an impressive, existing outreach program that gathers hundreds of children annually from nearby communities to on-site wrestling clinics and programs, truly in the spirit of Dan Gable.

“We plan to upgrade the Dan Gable Museum with the same technology in Waterloo, Iowa that we have in our Stillwater facility. Iowa and Dan Gable are authentic to our sports heritage,” said Smith.

INITIATIVE III - Outreach

With this initiative, we take wrestling beyond the walls of our museums – way, way beyond the walls. We are going to digitize our museums – our photographs, our films, our records and written words and then broadcast it – all the riveting intensity of two interlocked wrestlers and all the inspiring stories of our champions into cyberspace so that anyone anywhere can tap into the rush of wrestling that has captured generations.

“We intend to fund this item by year end,” said Smith. “The focus on our renovation will be to incorporate digital technology into our visitor experience and package our sports heritage with new media so we can expand our outreach to target audiences everywhere.”

INITIATIVE IV - Mobile Museum

We will take the Hall of Fame on the road, spreading the word about wrestling on the back of a burly 18-wheeler. Interactive exhibits, live demonstrations and storytelling will be taken to audiences that we could not have reached before. Young and old wrestlers will be able to “weigh in” and see who they’d wrestle from a list of past champions in their division. The Mobile Museum will have its own interactive “trivial pursuits” for wrestling. The big-rig will also carry a set of mats so young people can watch demonstrations of hall of fame wrestlers and step on the mat themselves for a hint of the sport’s excitement.

“Our goal is to equip a mobile museum with a state of art visitor experience. A 52 foot big rig will take our sport’s heritage across the country over at least a three year period. We intend to secure the funds for this initiative by the end of 2012,” said Smith.

The leaders of the wrestling community have expressed support of these initiatives, and are excited about how they can impact the sport moving forward.

“Once these initiatives are funded and implemented, it will allow the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum to reach over three million people around the country on an annual basis,” said Smith.

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