Baseball-focused museums open in Dyersville

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Posted at 9:21 AM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 10:21:18-04

DYERSVILLE, Iowa (AP) — Two baseball-centric museums are now open in Dyersville, both located in the same historic building.

The If You Build It exhibit now is in its new location in the former Tegeler Dairy building at 310 Second St. SE. In addition, a new museum called the Baseball Hall of Dreams opened in the same structure.

“These museums just add to all of the wonderful attractions we already had and is enticing the baseball enthusiasm,” said Karla Thompson, executive director of Dyersville Area Chamber of Commerce. “These are going to work great together.”

City officials oversee operations at the If You Build It exhibit.

The Baseball Hall of Dreams is owned by Dwier Brown, who played John Kinsella in the “Field of Dreams” movie, and his Los Angeles-based business partner David Feigin. Brown and Feigin also own the former Tegeler Dairy building, which was built in the 1800s.

Though he hopes to preserve the building’s history by putting together a museum highlighting the people who used to work in the historic property, Brown said the building is now called The Baseball Building.

“We’re trying to get all baseball-oriented business in there, even if it’s a restaurant or a brewery,” he told the Dubuque Telegraph Herald.

He noted that there is still another 10,000 square feet in the property for other businesses.

Brown said he and Feigin decided to create the Baseball Hall of Dreams with a focus on the baseball moments that changed people’s lives.

“We thought it would be a nice way to commemorate a lot of baseball league players who did big things and broke barriers but maybe didn’t get the credit at the Baseball Hall of Fame they deserve,” he said.

In addition to providing information on the history of baseball and key moments for players, Brown said, the museum includes a “wall of dreams” where people can write down their own hopes for the future.

Feigin said it was important to him that the Baseball Hall of Dreams highlighted the ways in which baseball has enriched people’s lives, including obstacles overcome by minority populations and those with disabilities in order to play.

“What we are focusing on is the magic and the essence and the beauty and the love that is a part of the game,” he said. “We’re focusing on the heart of the game. It’s not about stats or accomplishments like who has the most home runs. It’s about the human aspect.”

Feigin said a batting center is also in the works at the property, in which people can use pitching machines and batting tees.

He also said there is a conceptual plan for a baseball-themed restaurant in the building already, and Baseball Building officials are working on bringing in an operator for the eatery.

The Baseball Hall of Dreams does not focus on the Field of Dreams but instead augments the If You Build It exhibit, which details the history of the iconic movie site, Brown noted.

The If You Build It exhibit was open for two years at its initial site on First Avenue West. Officials decided to move the museum to a location with double the size.

Amanda Schwartz, museum manager for the If You Build It exhibit, said the new location allowed staff to expand displays in the museum. The exhibit features information on the history of the Field of Dreams site, including the filming of the 1989 movie.

Additional displays will be added in the coming weeks, Schwartz said, including the history of the movie site’s ownership and the Ghost Players.

Information on last year’s Major League Baseball game at the site also will be displayed, including a replica scoreboard and highlight reel from the game.

“That’s part of our history now,” Thompson said. “That is a part that definitely we expanded on.”

Schwartz added that the new location will be closer to festivities planned for Beyond the Game, which will take place during the week of the Aug. 11 game between the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds at the Field of Dreams site.

“We are kitty-corner to the city square where a lot of those events will be taking place,” she said. “It’s exciting to have that visual in conjunction with the new Baseball Hall of Dreams. It’s a two-for-one.”

The Baseball Hall of Dreams is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and is free to the public.

The If You Build It exhibit is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The price of admission is $5 for those 13 and older. Children 12 and younger are admitted for free.

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