The National Museum for Speed Skating and Hall of Fame has finally found a home at the Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah. US Speedskating partnered with local civic groups in 2018 to build a modern workout center for the National Team athletes, with space for therapy rooms, offices for coaches and trainers, a spacious area for weight-training, a huge modern kitchen/nutrition center, and meeting rooms, all with large windows with views of the mountains, showing off the beauty of the area.
Mary Wong, Director of the museum and a team from US Speedskating has met with a design team and the look of the museum is starting to take shape. The next step will be, of course, fundraising! Please check back here to see how the proposed exhibits are shaping up. We hope we can start installing in the upstairs hallway and large open area at the top of the stairs in mid 2021, pending funding. The displays and interactive videos will showcase what we love about our sport. Eventually, we hope to install exhibits at the Pettit in Milwaukee, and perhaps some traveling exhibits to loan.
HISTORY OF THE MUSEUM
The original Speed Skating Hall of Fame opened in Newburgh, New York, during the early 1960s and was maintained by the Newburgh Lions Club. It was relocated a few times before finally moving to a building at Delano-Hitch in 1974, the land being donated to the city by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s aunt Annie Delano-Hitch.
The museum was at Delano-Hitch for about 20 years before some of the artifacts were moved to a display case at Ice Time Sports Complex in Newburgh. Members of the Amateur Speedskating Union looked for a more permanent location to display artifacts, moving the Hall of Fame to Saratoga Springs several years later, then to the Pettit Center in Milwaukee. The Speedskating Hall of Fame Committee was first established at the Amateur Skating Union’s annual convention on May 15, 1959. If you go to the second floor of the Petit Center, you’ll find the “Wall of Fame”: a wall containing pictures of members of the Hall of Fame. Artifacts are not currently on display.
The Hall of Fame Museum Committee does not induct new members into the Hall of Fame. For information about Hall of Fame selection process, please contact USSpeedskating, or click here.
Lake Placid has a separate exhibit on Speed Skating: “Quest for Speed” which features various displays explaining the history of the sport and its origins and impact in Lake Placid.
Former president of the Amateur Skating Union, and HOF Committee Member Tom Porter was asked why the Hall of Fame Museum is important. He said it is “the only institution dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of [speed skating]. Skaters need to see there are other people who have been involved in speedskating over the years besides them—that it isn’t something that just happened yesterday.” He adds, “You want to be able to recognize people who have done well in the sport; people that have given a lot to make the sport what it is. I think that’s why you want to have a Hall of Fame.There has to be someplace that people can go to find those things out so it doesn’t get lost.”