When the college football Hall of Fame opens in downtown Atlanta on August 23, visitors can expect more than dusty artifacts and stern-faced busts. A high-tech pantheon to gridiron gods, the $66.5 million hall replaces old digs in South Bend, Indiana. “There’s a lot of cool payoffs in here that’ll be entertaining for all ages and all levels of fandom,” says John Stephenson, the hall’s president and CEO. “It’s just not what you would expect.” A few highlights:
‣ Each ticket ($19.75 for adults) will carry a radio-frequency chip enabling some exhibits to be customized (greeting guests by name or offering information on favorite teams).
‣ A wall of nearly 800 helmets honors every college and university that has a team.
‣ Galleries include interactive features such as “Fight Song Karaoke,” a digital face-painting exhibit, and a station that allows visitors to make the radio calls on some legendary plays.
‣ A 150-seat theater will show game-day movie clips in 4K ultra high-definition, which Stephenson describes as “eerily crisp.”
‣ Atop the football-shaped rotunda, the actual Hall of Fame is designed to be the pinnacle experience: a vast, cathedral-quiet room encircled with glass etchings of inductees.
‣ In the hall’s center, panels will give stats and background on inducted players and coaches.
This article originally appeared in our August 2014 issue under the headline “Highlight Reel.”