An interactive and high-tech history lesson on wheels was parked near Bally’s Casino for curious passers-by en route to the Atlantic City airshow Wednesday.
The New Jersey Hall of Fame mobile museum, the first of its kind in the country, offered an air-conditioned room to view the 70 inductees, so far, into the state’s Hall of Fame. The display of faces also came with a geographic locater for each person, as well as some of the instruments, inventions and video clips of some of the most famous inductees.
In order to qualify, these famous folk must “either be born in New Jersey and live here for five years or have moved here,” said Steve Edwards, president of the New Jersey Hall of Fame foundation board.
New Jersey became one of only five states nationwide to have a Hall of Fame when legislation was passed in 2005, Edwards said.
The Hall of Fame Mobile Museum is a new undertaking that is making its debut at sites around the state. Atlantic City was the third stop, after Jersey City and Trenton.
“It’s very informative,” said Rich Brison, 50, of Lincoln University, Pa. He added he wished that Pennsylvania would consider creating one too.
“It’s a lot of information,” said Brison’s daughter, Briana, 10.
The educational aspect reaches beyond random audiences, Edwards said. Starting in September, the mobile unit is available for rent to schools for $1,500 per day. About 40 students can pass through per hour.
A 100-page curriculum addendum will be prepared by the New Jersey Education Association for the “mobile field trip,” Edwards said.
The more popular faces in the New Jersey Hall of Fame include Albert Einstein, Harriet Tubman, Buzz Aldrin, Thomas Edison, Judy Blume, Danny DeVito, Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Jack Nicholson, Queen Latifah, Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra and Woodrow Wilson.
“I know Harriet Tubman and Judy Blume,” 8-year-old Ciara Coffy, of Pennsylvania, said at the mobile exhibit Wednesday. “I read a Judy Blume book. It was called ‘Freckle Juice.’ I read it in December for English class.”
There are also less well-known but courageous individuals chosen as Unsung Heroes, Edwards said. In 2011, the victims of Sept. 11 were inducted.
There is a master list of about 250 potential hall inductees that is used to add 10 to 15 people per year, Edwards said.
The trailer was set up Wednesday with two walls with all the inductees. One wall had a head shot with the year they were added, while the other included a map of New Jersey and identified where each was from. A large flat-screen TV was hung on the wall with clips of the many actors that have been honored.
The displays included items belonging to some of the honorees, such as a guitar owned by Les Paul, a Bon Jovi denim jacket and an original Edison gramophone. A center station included displays to highlight some of the achievements of honorees, ranging from inventions to sports highlights on mini screens.
“This should be at every major sporting event. People need to be educated about their past and their state,” Rich Brison said.
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