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The Right Stuff
Sarah Kwak
May 19, 2008
Personal treasures enliven a new museum
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May 19, 2008

The Right Stuff

Personal treasures enliven a new museum

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How do sports stars fit in? __ should've been on PEOPLE's Most Beautiful list ________ just cracks me up Thing that's been in my fridge the longest Our locker room smells like ... My coach hates it when I ...
MIKE NAPOLI Angels C Aubrey O'Day (left) Will Ferrell Strawberry jelly (two years) Clean Make fun of his weight
MICHAEL PARKHURST Revolution D I don't know anyone hot who wasn't on it Teammate Matt Reis and singer Rob Rock Chicken patties (five months) Sea Breeze Cross midfield
RYAN DEMPSTER Cubs P Will Ferrell (top) Jimmy Kimmel (left) Tuna fish sandwich (three weeks) Bad gas and deodorant Walk people
JOE BEIMEL Dodgers P Teammate Andre Ethier The Family Guy Chico's Pico Salsa (two weeks) Roses Don't cut my hair

IT'S AN iconic image: U.S. goalie Jim Craig, looking slightly dazed with an American flag over his shoulders, soaking up the moment after the Miracle on Ice team won hockey gold at the 1980 Olympics. Over the years several museums (including the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto) asked Craig to donate that famous flag. He declined—until last month, when he let Philip Schwalb display it in the new Sports Museum of America. "This is the right spot for it," Craig, 50, says of the SMA, which opened in New York City on May 7. "This isn't just a hall of fame. It's about America, passion and dreams."

Schwalb, 45, who formerly worked for a museum-design firm, began planning the SMA in 2001 after a visit to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., got him wondering why there were no general sports museums in the U.S. The 45,000-square-foot SMA, funded in part by federal bonds meant to stimulate development in lower Manhattan after the Sept. 11 attacks, features impressive memorabilia, much of it more meaningful than old jerseys and equipment. The original 1935 Heisman Trophy is there, along with Jesse Owens's diary from the 1936 Olympics, a full-scale stock car, paintings by Muhammad Ali and the six-iron astronaut Alan Shepard used to hit balls on the moon. Interactive areas let visitors test their sportscasting chops or experience the feeling of having slap shots hurtle toward them.

The SMA also houses the Women's Sports Hall of Fame, the first museum for female athletes. ( Billie Jean King donated the yellow jacket Bobby Riggs wore for their Battle of the Sexes match.) "My goal was not necessarily to attract die-hard fans," Schwalb says. "It was to appeal to people who don't realize they're sports fans." The SMA makes it hard not to be.

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