Special Exhibitions

Topps Pop Culture: Home Runs to Hollywood

Baseball meets Batman in the latest special exhibition at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory (LSMF). The attraction has teamed up with Topps, the legendary card maker, to create the first-ever retrospective of Topps® trading cards. The show opens March 14 and runs through October 4, 2015.

Along with iconic baseball cards, Topps has also produced collectible cards for other sports and pop culture giants such as Star Wars, the Beatles, and Pokémon. Props, costumes and artifacts from movies, television, music, comics and cartoons will be displayed alongside their Topps cards, including these monumental pieces:

·         Luke Skywalker’s Light Saber*    

·         Indiana Jones’ Whip                                         

·         Adam West’s Batman Costume*  

·         Christopher Reeve's Superman Costume*

·         Nichelle Nichols’ Lt. Uhura Costume*

·         Elvis Presley’s Scarf

·         Ringo Starr’s 1964 Drumsticks

·         Jobu Doll from Major League

“There’s something fun for everyone in this show,” said Anne Jewell, VP and Executive Director of LSMF. “Topps has an amazing history and ability to tap into the cultural current. We’re thrilled to partner with such a powerhouse and share their entertaining story with our guests.”

Baseball Bat Bike

For generations, the sound of a trading card slapping against the spokes of a bike is a nostalgic and happy memory. That experience will be enjoyed by guests as they crank the wheel of a bike specially made for this exhibition out of Louisville Slugger baseball bat lumber. The bike is a handcrafted work of art by Denver-based bike maker, Chris Connor. It will be rigged with a clothespin and card to produce that one-of-a-kind sound.

From its beginnings as a gum and candy company, Topps has grown into a global brand dedicated to entertaining all ages.

“We’re excited to partner with Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory for this exhibition. Our brands are both woven into our country’s history and future.” Said Clay Luraschi, VP Product Development for The Topps Company. “At Topps we’re all about celebrating pop culture, sports, and edible entertainment. This show delivers it all in one engaging package,” he added.

The exhibit joins an already impressive line-up at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. Admission to the museum includes interactive exhibits, a short feature film, historic memorabilia, the World’s Biggest Baseball Bat and an award-winning factory tour.

The museum, which opened in 1996, remains one of Louisville’s most popular attractions, and welcomed its 4-millionth guest in 2014.  The Louisville landmark features a wide range of exhibits, including Hold a Piece of History where visitors can hold game-used bats from some of the game’s greatest hitters.  Visitors can also face down a 90-mph fastball, check out more than 6,000 autographs from major leaguers, and watch bats being made on every tour. 

As an added bonus, all guests receive a free souvenir mini-bat at the end of their factory tour.  

*Pieces are owned by The Azarian Collection (azariancollection.com)


Stealing Base: Cuba at Bat 

Baseball has always been common ground between the United States and Cuba. A love for baseball connects Cubans and Americans across race, religion, politics, and geography. Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory and the 21c Museum have teamed-up for the first time to present a joint exhibition featuring baseball-themed contemporary art by Cuban-born artists.  Stealing Base: Cuba at Bat opens January 17th and runs through mid-June at both venues.  The exhibition is largely drawn from the Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection.

“We are delighted to partner with the 21c Museum for this terrific exhibit that could not have arrived at a better time” said LSMF Vice President and Executive Director Anne Jewell. “The contemporary art in this show is a compelling interpretation of the sport and a passionate commentary on Cuban culture.”

The exhibition features work by a diverse range of contemporary Cuban artists, living in both Cuba and the United States, who have found potency in the imagery of the sport. To complement the exhibition at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, the show also includes tributes to some of the greatest Cuban-born baseball players in history:  Tony Perez; Minnie Minoso; Tony Oliva; Bert Campaneris and Martin Dihigo.

The arrival of baseball in Cuba coincided with the emergence of the independence movement from Spain in 1868. Responding not only to the sport as a national pastime, the work in Stealing Baseconveys larger complexities within Cuban society.

The  show features works by sixteen established and emerging artists: Jesoviel Abstengo-Chaviano, Alejandro Aguilera, Carlos Cárdenas, Yunier Hernández Figueroa, Duniesky Martín, Frank Ernesto Martínez González, Bernardo Navarro Tomas, Juan Padrón, Douglas Pérez Castro, Arlés del Rio, Perfecto Romero, Reynerio Tamayo, José Angel Toirac, Harold Vázquez Ley,  and Villalvilla. Stealing Base: Cuba at Bat originated at The 8th Floor gallery in New York City, and features an essay by Havana-based curator Orlando Hernández.

The galleries at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory are only one block from the 21c Museum. The public is invited to visit both locations to experience the entire exhibition.