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STATE COLLEGE, Pa., February 18, 2002 - More than 1,400 people toured the Penn State All-Sports Museum on Sunday, its opening day.
The museum opened at 10:00 a.m. with a brief ribbon cutting ceremony and 1,406 tickets were distributed, according to Lou Prato, museum director, before the doors closed at 5:00 p.m. More than 100 patrons arrived early and were on hand when the doors opened and there was a steady stream of visitors throughout the day.
The museum honors the student-athletes and coaches down through history who have helped make Penn State's intercollegiate athletic program one of the best in the nation. Exhibits highlight the success of 32 varsity men's and women's sports, including three that no longer have varsity status-boxing, bowling and rifle.
The All-Sports Museum is located in the southwest corner of Beaver Stadium adjacent to the new museum gift shop operated by the Penn State Book Store. A canopy leading from Curtin Road marks the museum entrance.
There are two floors of exhibition space in the 10,000 square foot facility, with indoor sports occupying the second floor and outdoor sports on the first floor.
The lobby features a new sculpture of the Nittany Lion Mascot donated to Penn State by the Back The Lions booster group and a large display case holding the 56 National Championship trophies and plaques won by Penn State's athletic teams since 1921.
Video screens in the main exhibit area will show highlights of football, basketball and volleyball games. A video presentation at the start of the exhibition will portray the competitive work ethic and well-earned accomplishments of today's student-athletes. An intricate audio system carries the sounds of the athletes and their sports throughout the lobby and the exhibit space. A large screening room on the first floor will show memorable games from the past, such as the football team's 1987 Fiesta Bowl victory and last year's men's basketball victory over North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament.
Visitors will be able to touch equipment used by many of the student-athletes, including a gymnastics vaulting horse, a wrestling practice dummy, three different fencing swords, a boxing punching bag and various track and field items such as javelins and shot puts.
There also are plenty of photo opportunities, starting in the atrium lobby with the new Lion Mascot statute and National Championship case. In the lacrosse and field hockey exhibits, visitors can pose alongside fully dressed goalies. A few feet away is the Heisman Trophy won by John Cappelletti and a large mural of a blitzing linebacker.
Admission is free but visitors will need to obtain a souvenir ticket at the museum reception desk for entry into the exhibits. The museum will be open Tuesday through Sunday except for home football game weekends. The weekday and Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Regular Sunday hours are 12 to 4 p.m.
Because of special requirements for stadium operations during home football games, the museum will be closed on game day Saturdays. However, hours will be extended on Friday and Sunday of home football weekends.
Visitors can park at the parking meters in the lot directly across Curtin Road from the Museum entrance and the parking meters located in the Founder's Lot on the East side of the Bryce Jordan Center.