The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs has its sights fixed firmly on the future. On Thursday, July 16—Opening Day at Saratoga Race Course, which at press time, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) said is still a go—the museum will be unveiling the results of a multimillion-dollar renovation, meant to completely revolutionize the visitor experience at the museum. “We want to be the best sports Hall of Fame in the country,” says the museum’s President John Hendrickson. “Our sport deserves it. Come mid-July, I believe we’ll have accomplished that goal.”
What can horse racing fanatics expect? A major. tech-heavy upgrade, for starters. The fully redesigned Hall of Fame will feature interactive displays, replacing its original plaques with an explorable digital format that will include videos, photo galleries and other multimedia offerings. The e-plaques will offer a wealth of knowledge about the various inductees—far more information than could have ever fit on a single plaque. “You’ll get to play videos of Secretariat winning the Triple Crown, Rachel Alexandra’s historic Woodward victory at Saratoga and Zenyatta’s incredible Breeders’ Cup,” says museum Communications Director (and Saratoga Living Sports Editor) Brien Bouyea. They’ll also include a plethora of rare historical documents about and images of the Hall of Famers. “Many of these documents that we’re going to be showing have rarely or never been seen by the public,” Bouyea says. “It’s really going to bring the Hall of Fame inductees to life.”
In addition to the upgraded displays and plaques, museumgoers will stand in awe of the Hall’s new 360-degree screen, which will allow attendees to participate in an immersive cinematic experience focused on the Sport of Kings. A signature 8K-resolution horse racing film is being created by Louisville-based Donna Lawrence Productions, which has done film work for an esteemed client list that includes Walt Disney World, New-York Historical Society, American Museum of Natural History and Thomas Jefferson’s historic estate, Monticello. “The filmmakers were very creative, and the cinematography is beautiful and entrancing,” says Bouyea, of what he’s seen of the film so far. “It’s going to be a game-changer for us, and something the entire sport of racing can take pride in.”
Additionally, updates will include the addition of a new Race Day Gallery and gift shop. The museum’s planning some sneak previews for donors and media in the lead up to the grand opening in July—so keep your eyes peeled for updates on saratogaliving.com.
(Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, previews may be subject to change.)