Horse racing fans: Are you ready to see what the future of the Sport of Kings looks like? On September 5, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, which has undergone extensive renovations—including the addition of a number of high-tech bells and whistles—is set to reopen to the public on Saturday, September 5.
Closed since January and originally supposed to reopen on July 16, in time for the start of the Saratoga Race Course season across the street, the museum will be once again welcoming in crowds of the faithful on the 5th. And devoted racing fans will find some brand-new experiences awaiting their next visit. Besides updates to existing exhibitions, the museum has installed an interactive Hall of Fame experience, featuring digital plaques for each of the 459 inductees, which will allow guests to learn more about each of the racing legends by swiping a museum-provided stylus on them. Each plaque will feature collections of digital photographs and videos. Visitors will also be able to view a new 16-minute signature film entitled, What It Takes: Journey to the Hall of Fame, that examines the history of Thoroughbred racing and “what it takes” to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
With the COVID-19 crisis still a factor, the museum plans to enforce a number of safety measures in accordance with state and local health regulations, including limiting visitors to 24 every two hours. Hand sanitizing stations have been placed throughout the museum, and markings on the floor will keep guests six feet apart and on a one-way route through the exhibits. And of course, masks are mandatory for all visitors.
Other interactive museum updates include the Race Day Gallery, where guests can travel through three areas of the racetrack, The Paddocks, The Track and The Winner’s Circle, to get a closer look at what really happens on any given race day; and Call the Race, an interactive exhibit that gives visitors a chance to view footage of some of the sport’s largest events before making a “call” (that can then be downloaded and shared!). There will also be an exhibition dedicated to the famed Jockey Club, paintings by British artist Martin Stainforth and a juried photo exhibition, displaying 34 photographers’ takes on Thoroughbred racing in America.
“We set out with an ambitious goal of being the best and most interactive
Hall of Fame in the country,” says museum President John Hendrickson. “I believe we have accomplished that goal. Our great sport deserves a showcase venue that everyone can be proud of. This is a game-changer for the museum, and it is everything we hoped it would be when we began the process to reimagine and enliven our institution.”
Tickets can be purchased online, starting on August 28 for members, and August 31 for the general public.