Virginia Historical Society’s ‘Gridiron Glory’ examines the history and impact of professional football

by | Jun 21, 2016 | POLITICS

The Virginia Historical Society has collaborated with the Pro Football Hall of Fame to bring traveling exhibition Gridiron Glory to Richmond.

The Virginia Historical Society has collaborated with the Pro Football Hall of Fame to bring traveling exhibition Gridiron Glory to Richmond.

Gridiron Glory, which launched at VHS last month, examines professional football from its humble beginnings in the late 19th century, to becoming a national phenomenon and cultural staple. The exhibit features over 200 artifacts from the Hall of Fame collection, photography, film, interactive displays and a specially-designed “Hometown Tribute” section to spotlight the local team, in our case the Washington Redskins.

For the past four years, Gridiron Glory has traveled to 10 cities including New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Louisville, Kentucky to commemorate the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary.

“Their idea was to have this traveling exhibitions and go to different venues and kind of drum up support for professional football because it is one of the largest spectator sports of all time,” said Greg Hansard, Manager of Web and Digital Resources and the curator for the exhibition at Virginia Historical Society.

According to Hansard, the exhibition is a narrative of American history in collaboration with the story of football and features “not only the greatest football players of all time, but some of the greatest athletes of all times.”

“You can see this exhibit takes you through several different themes of American history, so you can look at labor history, you can look at the Civil Rights movement, with the reintegration of professional football in the late 1960s,” said Hansard.

There are plenty of artifacts for fact geeks and history lovers to dive into at this exhibit. On display, visitors can revel in the glory of the coveted Vince Lombardy trophy in the “Champions” gallery, Tom Dempsey’s famous kicking shoe made for his half-foot, “Mean Joe” Greene’s helmet, and Peyton Manning’s jersey.

Not only can you take a journey through history with Gridiron Glory, it’s also an interactive experience for fans and sports enthusiasts alike.

The exhibit allows visitors to grip specially molded football models from the likes of former quarterback for the Edmonton Eskimos, Warren Moon and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman. Guests can also feel the weight of Hall of Fame helmets and shoulder pads, and hear recorded calls from a game.

Attendees can even test their knowledge in an “NFL Instant Replay” feature of the exhibit. In the interactive booth, guests can participate in referee calls and get a glimpse into what it’s like to like to be a ref on the sidelines and try their luck at making calls themselves.

If you’re into science, there are videos that explore the science and technology of the game and display the athleticism of football players as well.

Even though this exhibit is a football lovers dream, Hansard insists the exhibition isn’t just for football fans, there’s a little something for everything in Gridiron Glory.

The exhibit, which is sponsored by TowneBank, is a production of Pro Football Exhibits, LLC, through a partnership with the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Museum in Ohio. The exhibit is owned and toured by Algonquin Museum Services, designed by Gallagher & Associates, sales by Evergreen Exhibitions and audio/film provided by NFL Films, Inc.

Gridiron Glory will run until Sept. 4th at the Virginia Historical Society. Tickets are free for VHS members and $20 for non-VHS members and can be purchased here.

Amy David

Amy David

Amy David was the Web Editor for from May 2015 until September 2018. She covered craft beer, food, music, art and more. She's been a journalist since 2010 and attended Radford University. She enjoys dogs, beer, tacos, and Bob's Burgers references.

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