Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ACBL Museum/Hall of Fame now open

The ACBL Museum and Hall of Fame officially opened yesterday, and it's amazing.

Above: A visitor checks out the Charles Goren presentation. The image of Goren is made of clay and was built by a company in Maryland -- they did it from photos and information about Goren's height, eye color, etc. (For all images, click to enlarge.)

Goren is a large reason for bridge being so popular during the Fifties and Sixties. He took Milton Work's 4-3-2-1 point count, simplified it and presented it to the the everyday bridge player. He had a column in the Sports Illustrated and developed and popularized bridge on TV. There are flat panels that show some of the old shows, but they didn't photograph well, so I won't bother posting a photo of any.

Above: The trophies are now inside their cases. The Vanderbilt and the Reisinger team game trophies have individual presentations.

There are also flat panels that that look like hi-def TVs that have touch screens, similar to an iPhone. If you want to know who won the McKenney Trophy (now called the Barry Crane Top 500) in 1965, you can ask for that by touching the appropriate icon, then sliding to the year you are interested in. You can also find out who was ACBL president in a certain year or find out information about each trophy.

The Hall of Fame is similar. There are three flat panels. The two on the side have a slide show of inductees. Some are in color, some in black and white. The black and white are awesome to me as they indicate history. The visitor can touch the flat panel in the middle and scroll to someone they want to know more about. In some cases there are photos and an information page, but in some cases they have taped interviews. Very cool.

Above: The floor near the trophy case has 13 granite slabs with each one representing a playing card. All 13 together represent a bridge hand. If you want to stump someone with an obscure trivia question, ask them what's the significance of this bridge hand:
A K 10 6 Q 7 6 5 3 9 K J 8?
The answer is that it's the one depicted on the granite slabs. Flannery anyone?

Above: Josephine and Ely Culbertson. They were probably the two best-known bridge players in the world in the Thirties and Forties. He created the Bridge World magazine.

Do you know what a trump indicator is? The Museum has a collection of nearly 800 of them. Do you know who introduced the changes that turned auction bridge into contract bridge? (Harold Vanderbilt) There's all this and much more here. The curator, Tracey Yarbro, has done a fantastic job. The ACBL didn't cut corners as far as funding.

If you are in the Memphis area, and are interested in the history of our great game, plan to stop by and take a tour of our new Headquarters. Save the Museum/Hall of Fame for last and leave plenty of time to enjoy it - you won't be disappointed.

UPDATE: A local newspaper has written a nice article about the Museum. You can read it here.

Photos by MOJO and taken yesterday with my P&S.


  1. Very classy place. Members must have donated heavily! Good tour.

  2. I know nothing about Bridge as you know, but this looks like a delightful place and I'd love to take a tour sometime.

    That clay figure of Goren is quite amazing!

    Is this where you work?

  3. Will there a spot put by for Bigot-Johnson to be revered, worshipped and remembered....given his remarkable exploits at bridge ?

  4. @Crash: Our membership numbers are good and I think we had the money in reserve.

    @Jacob: Yes, it's where I work.

    @Anonymous: I'll check.

  5. Hey! I kept moderator prileges, it is my site after all. I can see everything you say.

  6. I wanted to be a fireman, too. Or a cop. But mostly a detective. Like Sam Spade. Or a cowboy. Or a pilot.

    None of them worked out! :-))

  7. Looks great, but why is bridge not nearly as popular as poker? Too complicated?

  8. @Wolynski: Too complicated and has a bad image of being for little old ladies with blue hair.

  9. I love that floor...very nice.