In partnership with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, digital history pioneer HistoryIT launched an interactive exhibit of the first of Babe Ruth’s 25 scrapbooks on Thursday. The scrapbooks are part of the Museum’s digital collection, which launched last week and will continue to be updated.
The Babe Ruth scrapbooks contain clippings and photos saved by Ruth’s manager, Christy Walsh who painstakingly documented just about everything the Bambino did.
In addition to news articles about Ruth’s accomplishments on the diamond, the scrapbook showcased in the first exhibit also contains records of Ruth’s career as a vaudeville actor and promoter of commercial products. It acknowledges triumphs as well as defeats: Walsh included clippings about Ruth and other players who were punished for violating a rule prohibiting barnstorming. Ruth’s personal appearances in stores and the accompanying ads are also showcased.
HistoryIT’s digital presentation, available at baberuth.baseballhall.org, allows site visitors to explore each page by zooming in and out or clicking on any individual article for a closer view. Additionally, it provides short essays and contextual explanations for each page, as well as every item on the page. It is built on HistoryIT’s Digital Platform Environment with integrated Klixel8 technology, which enables virtual visitors to navigate among activated image elements on each page. Viewers are invited to delve deeper into the stories and look for tagged subjects to discover the connections within this wealth of information. From this interactive exhibit, visitors can also navigate to view the 24 other scrapbook volumes.
“Digitizing for preservation and access is only the first step for a digital collection,” said Donny Lowe, the Museum’s Director of Digital Strategy. “This digital interactive is a great example of how cultural institutions can leverage a digital collection to create meaningful and immersive stories.”
“We are thrilled to work with the Hall of Fame to demonstrate how digital historical content can be utilized in a variety of settings to deepen engagement and understanding,” said HistoryIT CEO Dr. Kristen Gwinn-Becker, whose company works with a wide range of organizations committed to preserving and sharing their histories, from professional sports teams to museums and universities. “We believe that historic treasures like these should be available to anyone, not just scholars,” she continued. “We’re happy to be able to provide the technological tools and content expertise to make history accessible and engaging. The Digital Babe Ruth Scrapbooks are a wonderful illustration of that.”