Work has finally begun on a New York City museum that will honor Brooklyn Dodgers legend Jackie Robinson. Originally, the museum was slated open in 2009, but the Great Recession stalled fundraising for ten years.
Now the museum, designed by Gensler’s New York office with exhibition design by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, is set to open in 2019.
The 18,500-square-foot museum is being built into the ground floor of One Hudson Square, in Manhattan’s Soho district. A permanent exhibit will inform visitors of Robinson’s part in the civil rights movement, showcasing Jackie Robinson’s achievements against the backdrop of U.S. history from 1919 to the present. Beyond learning, these panels are functional, retracting to form the walls of an arena setting, or sliding out of sight to create more space for larger events. In these cases, temporary seating can also be installed.
The museum will also be able to double-up as a venue for concerts, lectures, and receptions when non-permanent exhibits are not on show. This 3D plan view depicts the interior configuration of the ground floor. (Courtesy the Jackie Robinson Foundation)
More hands-on exhibits, meanwhile will inform visitors on subjects including baseball, segregation, citizenship, personal integrity, and social change. A 75 seat theater will round out the program.
“The Jackie Robinson Museum is an opportunity to bring an important cultural landmark to NYC—one that challenges visitors to think about the history of social and cultural change and tolerance,” wrote said Joseph Plumeri, chairman of the Jackie Robinson Foundation National Legacy Campaign, in an information document about the museum. “The lessons learned from Jackie’s personal journey will touch people of all ages, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds.”
In terms of funding, the Associated Press reported that about $23.5 million has been raised to build the museum. The Jackie Robinson Foundation has its eyes set on a total of $42 million to pay for the museum’s operating costs (42 was the baseball player’s number).