WHO: Globe staff member Janice Page and daughter, Zoe, 9
WHERE: Fenway Park
WHAT: Touring the exhibits in “Fenway Park: A Living Museum”
The local baseball shrine just celebrated a significant birthday. Maybe you heard?
And maybe you’re already over it. But underneath all the hoopla that just managing to hang around for a century buys you, Fenway Park actually does deserve special attention this year for some low-key additions scattered throughout the stadium. They won’t ever compete with the Green Monster seats, but the exhibits that officially constitute “Fenway Park: A Living Museum” offer a pretty cool combination of park timelines and treasures, baseball memorabilia, and American history.
My daughter and I took in the displays one recent Friday before, during, and after a Red Sox game. That’s the drawback, of course: You can’t generally see the exhibits unless you are in the park for something that probably requires a ticket, including daily guided tours that aren’t big on spontaneous wandering. But whatever it is that brings you inside, taking the time to explore every inch of the park is now more rewarding than ever.
First, grab a copy of the new free map (available at Fan Services booths on game days), which guides you toward 100 displays, plaques, and historical markers planted strategically around the grounds. My 9-year-old will go anywhere if a map points her there, even if it means hiking up ramps and negotiating crowded concourses that we normally try to avoid. Some exhibit items fell flat for us (a cryptic Red Sox financial ledger from the 1920s?), but others were well worth seeking out. Among our favorite things: “Fenway and the Greatest Generation,” where Ted Williams’s sturdy leather flight jacket dominates a moving display of World War II artifacts; walls of concert and movie photos (“Live at Fenway Park” and “Filmed at Fenway”); a first-aid-themed collection that includes a backlit X-ray of the broken elbow Williams suffered during the 1950 All-Star game; and a giant mural and park model, both made of LEGO blocks (pictured above).
Not everything on the map is new to the building, and all of it is subject to change: Fenway management has promised that more items will rotate in from private donations as well as its own archive. It may take us many years to see it all. But we’re up to it for as long as the park is.
“Fenway Park: A Living Museum” is ongoing and accessible free with admission to the park for any event or tour. The park is at 4 Yawkey Way, Boston. 877-733-7699, www.fenwaypark