Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory has just completed its first museum gallery renovation in nearly 15 years.
The Bat Vault is now a 638-square-foot gallery, more than double its original size. Guests can enter the Vault and marvel at the more than 3,000 original bat models designed by some of the game’s most legendary players. Some of the models on display are over 100 years old. The Bat Vault experience is now included with general admission to the museum. Prior to renovations, the Bat Vault was only accessible to guests of the VIP museum experience.
“We call the Bat Vault our Fort Knox of baseball bats, and we are thrilled to now treat all of our guests to the stories, history, and spectacle that comes with the Vault,” said Deana Lockman, executive director of Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. “The museum is all about creating unforgettable experiences, and these renovations will undoubtedly add to the one-of-a-kind experience we offer.”
Upon entering the museum gallery, guests can now feel the excitement and see the stories of baseball’s history with the renovation. Hold A Piece of History, the permanent exhibit where guests can hold game-used bats, has received a big-league overhaul, touting more photo opportunities for guests to show off their finest batting stance while holding a legendary piece of lumber.
Throughout the gallery, the museum’s iconic player sculptures are now positioned with a photo op background for guests to capture the memory of standing alongside greats like Henry Aaron, Babe Ruth, Roberto Clemente, Derek Jeter, Ken Griffey Jr., Jackie Robinson, and Ted Williams. Additionally, sculptures will be accompanied by museum artifacts to highlight each player’s connection to the heritage of Hillerich & Bradsby Co. (H&B).
Guests can now get deeper into the action of two historic bat-making processes as newly added cameras will help capture the wood chips flying at the hand-turning station and the sizzle of the bat at the burn branding station. The two iconic demonstrations will run every day at the museum.
A dedicated programming space for museum Brand Ambassadors will enable them to dive into and share the stories that have shaped H&B’s storied past. The museum plans to place more of an emphasis on its programming with the addition of the new dedicated space.
Another highlight of the renovation is a 200-square-foot space for temporary exhibits. Kicking off in the space is West Main’s Marvel: The Big Bat. In the new exhibit, guests discover the story of H&B’s move to West Main in 1995, the installation of the iconic Big Bat, and the impact the museum has had on the development of downtown Louisville.
H&B plans to renovate the museum store soon, as well as continue to build within the 800 Main campus it has occupied since 1995.
“One of our main goals is to build out the H&B campus to be a premier entertainment center that currently includes Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, our bourbon attraction Barrels & Billets, and event spaces,” said John Hillerich, CEO of Hillerich & Bradsby Co. “The 800 block of West Main will only become more appealing for people in the city with the excitement in our facility, as well as across the street when The Dream hotel is completed.”
The gallery renovation was designed by JRA – Part of RWS Entertainment Group of Cincinnati with Louisville’s Schaefer Construction serving as the general contractor for the build-out. Exhibit fabrication was performed by 1220 Exhibits of Nashville, Tennessee.