Sports & Leisure
The nation's passion for sports is obvious every day—at NASCAR races, kiddie soccer matches, and countless other contests. From a handball used by Abraham Lincoln to Chris Evert's tennis racket to a baseball signed by Jackie Robinson, the roughly 6.000 objects in the Museum's sports collections bear witness to the vital place of sports in the nation's history. Paper sports objects in the collections, such as souvenir programs and baseball cards, number in the hundreds of thousands.
Leisure collections encompass a different range of objects, including camping vehicles and gear, video games, playing cards, sportswear, exercise equipment, and Currier and Ives prints of fishing, hunting, and horseracing. Some 4,000 toys dating from the colonial period to the present are a special strength of the collections.
"Sports & Leisure - Overview" showing 1 items.
- A basketball is defined as “an inflated spherical ball used in the game of basketball.” Most basketballs have an inflatable, inner, rubber bladder, are wrapped in layers of fibers, and then are covered with leather, rubber, or a synthetic composite. The surface of a standard 29.5 inch ball is divided by “ribs” and contains approximately 4,118 pebbles, at a diameter of 2.5 millimeters each. The traditional basketball is orange with black ribs although the balls come in a variety of colors. The Wilson Sporting Goods Company began producing basketballs early in its history, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that the Wilson ball was chosen as the official basketball of the National Basketball Association, cementing its place in sports history. The ball shown here was used by the donor, Thomas Weber, during the early 1970s in Newburyport, Massachusetts.
- Currently not on view
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- associated dates
- Weber, Thomas E.
- Wilson Sporting Goods Company
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- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center