2014-12-18 / Around Town

Tennis Hall of Fame Helps Other Museums

By James Merolla

Matthew Perry and Rob McCormack from Fort Adams remove donated display cases from the International Tennis Hall of Fame. (Photo Kate Whitney Lucey) Matthew Perry and Rob McCormack from Fort Adams remove donated display cases from the International Tennis Hall of Fame. (Photo Kate Whitney Lucey) The International Tennis Hall of Fame Museum took case management to a whole new level last week.

The ITHOF has donated more than 50 of its valuable glass display and archive cases to museums, armories and one other Hall of Fame in several states, including Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont, saving the recipients tens of thousands of dollars.

On Dec. 11, representatives of those organizations came to Newport to see the cases. “As you know, we are in the midst of extensive renovations, which will require all new case work,” said Museum Director Doug Stark. “We went through the cases in the building, identified them and took pictures. Our Curator of Collections, Nicole Markham, sent the photos and lists to area museums. Within short order, about 24 hours, they were all claimed.”

Stark said that several museum mannequins, mounts and related display items were also donated. When the Hall of Fame Museum closed this past week, staff spent five days removing all the art and artifacts from the cases and carefully storing the pieces for construction.

“It’s really nice to work with area museums. We are glad we could help out so many of them. They are so appreciative,” he added.

The $15.7 million expansion will include a new 16,000-square-foot building with locker rooms, a fitness area, staff offices and retail space. An additional 21,000-square foot complex will house three new indoor tennis courts with three adjacent outdoor courts.

Other local museums are working on various projects, ranging from building a whole new museum to updating existing displays. Having proper cases is very important in the museum world for preservation. They are also costly. The cases, Stark said, are typically valued at several thousand dollars each or more, depending on size and intricacy.

Recipients include the Fort Adams Trust, which took 14 of the cases for use as they update their property and construct a new museum that will open in the spring.

The other recipients include The Pettaquamscutt Historical Society in Kingston, R.I., the Westerly Armory Museum in Westerly, R.I., the Joseph N. Goff House, Inc. and Museum and Cultural Center in East Hampton, Conn.; The Volleyball Hall of Fame, Holyoke, Mass.; the Haverhill Firefighting Museum, Haverhill, Mass.; and the Sullivan Museum & History Center, Northfield, Vt.

In the new Tennis Hall of Fame museum, exhibits and artifacts will all be displayed in new ways. “We plan to reopen in May 2015,” said Stark. “We have assembled a team with an exhibit designer, a contractor, a fabric (consultant) and an audio/visual professional. They are responsible for all of the new case work.”

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