Through thick and thin, we love our sports teams in this town. And we’re also quite fond of our museums. So why, exactly, has nobody combined the two as of yet? Lou Scheinfeld wants to be the one who does it. Scheinfeld is 81 years old and has worked in sports in Philadelphia, probably since before you were born. To wit, he was involved in the construction of the Spectrum in the 1960s and the construction of Xfinity Live! just a few years ago. His latest passion project is the Museum of Sports, a museum that would celebrate the four major American sports, with a focus on the teams of Philadelphia.
This project has been in the works for the last several years, but we were only turned on to it recently, thanks to an article from CSN Philly. The article describes Scheinfeld’s vision of a 35K sqft museum which will prominently display the DePace collection, a memorabilia collection of a local cardiologist that’s valued at tens of millions of dollars. The museum will also include a local sports hall of fame, a restaurant, a mini-golf course, and an arcade area that’s heavy on virtual reality games. Here’s a map of the planned museum, from a Crossing Broad story from a few months ago.
This concept might make sense on the Ben Franklin Parkway, but it would reach a more targeted audience if it’s located at the Sports Complex. Initial plans called for the museum to be located to the south of Xfinity Live!, a high exposure location. That apparently fell through, as the new plan calls for the Museum of Sports to open in a warehouse space on Darien Street, currently used by the Jetro restaurant supply business. Though this will be right across the street from the Linc, it’s not nearly as central as Xfinity Live!.
In the CSN Philly story, Scheinfeld suggests that the museum needs about $7.5M to get off the ground, while the Crossing Broad story indicates a $20M fundraising goal. Either number seems daunting. Still, Ed Rendell is a supporter, as was Ed Snider, before he passed away. Multiple fundraising events have already taken place, with the next one coming up in a couple of weeks.
We applaud Lou Scheinfeld’s effort to get this thing off the ground and hope for the best for this project, as the Museum of Sports would be a nice addition to the Sports Complex. If fundraising efforts go well, the expected grand opening will be in early 2019.