CANTON -- The museum at the Pro Football Hall of Fame has received some upgrades in the past year as part of the development of Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village.
The "A Game for Life" holographic exhibit opened last summer, and a digitization of the nonprofit organization's archive of former players is under way. Also planned is space for the Black College Football Hall of Fame, which will be moving from Atlanta to Canton, in addition to a possible change to the layout of the museum.
Here's what's going on in the original Pro Football Hall of Fame amid the nearby new construction on the campus:
1. "A Game for Life"
The "A Game for Life" exhibit experience begins when visitors are waiting in line to enter through what looks like a stadium tunnel to a locker room. The voice of Dennis Haysbert -- the actor from the Allstate Insurance commercials -- speaks about how few people actually play football at the professional level, let alone become enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Inside the theater, which has been designed as a locker room for football legends, the benches rumble and a hologram of Joe Namath narrates a show about character and lessons learned from football, featuring appearances from other Hall of Famers.
A creative team from the California company Immersive Artistry designed the exhibit, which is included in the cost of admission to the museum.
2. Digitization of records
The Hall's Executive Director Joe Horrigan and archivist Jon Kendle are in the process of digitizing the Hall's archive of players, said Pete Fierle, chief of staff and spokesman for the Hall. The process isn't just for records about Hall of Famers but also about other football players and legends.
The museum is expected to become highly interactive, Fierle said.
Original ideas for the museum were to use the technology to make exhibits not only interactive but personalized. Through wearable technology, it was suggested visitors might be able to walk up to a display kiosk that would pull up information about their favorite teams or players as they approached.
3. Black College Football Hall of Fame
In 2016, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the Black College Football Hall of Fame would relocate to Canton from Atlanta. It originally was thought the induction ceremonies for the college hall of fame might be held here as early as this year, but the timeline for when the move will happen isn't clear.
Fierle, with the Pro Football Hall of Fame, said places in the museum are being considered as a permanent home for the Black College Football Hall of Fame. It won't feel like an exhibit, he said -- it will feel like its own hall.
"That's going to be huge," he said.
4. Re-orienting museum
One of the other possibilities for the museum is to re-orient it by moving the entrance and exit. Steve Strawbridge, chief administrative officer for the Hall, said the flow might change, rather than the size of the museum, as the length of an average visit already is three hours.