Onondaga Historical Museum Unveils New Exhibition Onondaga Historical Museum Unveils New Exhibition

Nurielle Auguste: The Suits Up exhibit features a historical sports collection that has been passed down through generations of Syracuse families stretching all the way to the 1850s.

Robert Searing: We’ve got baseball uniforms. We’ve got crunch uniforms.

Nurielle Auguste: Its not just about the jerseys and the game winning balls. Its about the social changes that have been propelled through the channel of sports. Its about the history and the artifacts are held here.

Matthew Bourdon: With social change sports reflect that and sometimes sports led that.

Robert Searing: In fact, one of the artifacts that came in was a 1909 SU Crew coxswain uniform and a mega phone, these are the people that yell on a boat for the people to go faster, hilarious. But they came in from a grandson of a gentleman who was in in 1909. This is a cool story I went to the archive to find a photograph of the crew team. And we had a shot of the crew team on Onondaga lake from 1909.

Nurielle Auguste: The collection showcases an autograph of the first ever black man to win a Heisman and former Syracuse player, Ernie Davis. They have Photos of Jackie Robinson when he played in Syracuse at MacArthur Stadium, in 1946. And they even have some of the very first women’s tennis uniforms, from when they were finally recognized as an official team.

Robert Searing : People get excited, people come around, and it brings people into downtown which is great.

Nurielle Auguste: Onondaga Historical Museum’ Suit Up exhibit will be up until March 27, 2025.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) —The Onondaga Historical Museum has opened its doors to a captivating new sports exhibit. “Suits Up,” is a testament to the history embedded in sports and its impact on the local Syracuse community.

At the heart of the exhibit lies a collection of historical sports memorabilia, meticulously preserved, and passed down through generations of Syracuse families since the 1850s. One of the standout artifacts is a 1909 SU Crew coxswain uniform accompanied by a megaphone, used by the team to cheer them on during races. Reflecting on the significance, history curator, Robert Searing, shares the story behind this find. “This uniform and megaphone were generously donated by the grandson of a crew member from 1909.”

However, it’s not just about the jerseys and the game-winning balls. It’s about the profound social changes catalyzed through the realm of sports, that are showcased throughout the museum. Syracuse resident Matthew Bourdon believes that “sports reflect social change and sometimes even leads it.”

Furthermore the exhibit honors trailblazers like Ernie Davis who was the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy —whose rare autograph is displayed at the front of the exhibit. Visitors can also view images of Jackie Robinson from his 1946 MacArthur Stadium game in Syracuse, along with some of the first women’s tennis uniforms.

Searing says, “People are excited, and it’s wonderful to see the exhibit bringing individuals together, revitalizing downtown Syracuse in the process.”

The public can view “Suits Up” through March 27, 2025.

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