A complete renovation project continues to transform the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum in South Williamsport and it will feature new displays and more interactive activities.
The first noticeable change to the museum - which opened in 1982 but closed on Sept. 4 for renovations - is that it will be held on one floor as the lower level no longer will be a part of the exhibit. But new exhibits and memorabilia will replace previous displays when the newly designed museum opens in June.
"There're going to be things you've never seen before," said Lance Van Auken, vice president and executive director of the museum.
A worker waits for the tour group to pass so he can continue working.
Chris Downs, director of publicity, said with less space, the museum will "fully maximize" the entire facility.
In order to help lead visitors throughout the museum, a six-inning format will be used - much like a traditional Little League Baseball game. Van Auken explained that the concept was created and designed by Cambridge 7 Associates, of Cambridge, Mass., which has worked on the Baltimore Aquarium and the New England Patriots' Hall of Fame.
The six innings will take visitors on a tour from early history of the league to current leagues around the world to the Hall of Excellence.
The new museum is interactive, with a variety of activities in which visitors can participate.
As visitors begin their tour of the museum, they will be greeted with historical exhibits that explain the beginning of the youth organization.
A baseball from 1868 will be on display, along with the cannon that Dr. Creighton J. Hale used when testing batting helmets. Hale used the cannon to see the effectiveness of the helmet by shooting baseballs at it.
Van Auken said early recordings also will be available for guests to listen to.
"(Visitors) push a button and you'll have Carl Stotz talk for about 30 seconds about the founding of Little League," Van Auken said.
One exhibit hopes to connect guests with Little Leagues around the globe. A piece of the Berlin Wall will be on display, along with six uniforms of teams from six continents.
Also, a "giant iPad" will allow visitors to find out information about all of the Little Leagues from around the world.
The fourth inning of the museum will give visitors a chance to try tasks such as running to first base and taking position behind home plate as catcher. Van Auken explained that a video screen will act as the catcher's mask and a glove is equipped with a mechanical piston in it to give the effect of the ball hitting the mitt.
Van Auken said making exhibits interactive was important for the new museum. He said since there is such a wide-variety of ages who visit the museum, it created a challenge.
"Our challenge was to find a balance between interactivity for adults and kids," he said, adding that guests range from 5 years old to 80.
A replica of a dugout at Lamade Stadium will double as a theater that will play highlights of Little League throughout its history.
The Hall of Excellence will finish the tour and will continue to honor individuals who embody the values of Little League.
The $4 million project still is on schedule to be opened June 6, marking the 74th anniversary of the first Little League game ever played.
Van Auken said its been a pleasure to be a part of the process of updating the museum.
"It's been a lot of fun," he said. "I have a great respect for history and a love for Little League."