While many people think of a museum as only a place to depict history, the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame in Arlington is much more with its section on the modern era.
Visitors begin to see the excitement of today’s bowling scene immediately after leaving the theater area. It starts with a quick display called “Growing Up a Professional” that gives an overview of the progression of a bowler from youth to pro.
Entering the youth area, the most eye-catching feature is the Bowlopolis-themed kiosk. There are three exhibits available for people to interact with the characters from the online version of the popular cartoon aimed at 3-to-12 year olds. Visitors can choose from watching cartoons, working a puzzle or trying to defeat the King Pin.
Directly across from Bowlopolis is the Coaches Corner section where visitors receive interactive tips from United States Bowling Congress-certified coaches.
“There are things such as three-foot long miniaturized bowling lanes where people will interact with push buttons and coaching footage to determine what you do to help correct a player’s game,” said Ross Edwards, design director for Dallas’ Museum Arts and the lead designer for the IBM/HF. “There are training opportunities for people who say ‘If I could get a good coach, my game would improve.’ ”
Between Bowlopolis and Coaches Corner are displays on high school and collegiate bowling including a section on how youth can earn college scholarships through their bowling achievements.
Next is the international section. While there are plenty of artifacts and photos to show the greatest bowlers and events from outside the United States, the main attraction here is a floor-to-ceiling orange peel map in the center of the room. This shows people how truly global bowling is by displaying where people bowl. This section also is where people learn about the USBC Team USA and Junior Team USA programs along with the World Tenpin Bowling Association and Federation Internationalé des Quilleurs, bowling’s worldwide governing body.
Visitors then move to the professional bowling section where both current and past professional men’s and women’s organizations are featured.
An entire section devoted to USBC’s major tournaments is next. Major highlights are the Open and Women’s Championships, Masters and Queens, and U.S. Women’s Open. Within this section is a display on The National Bowling Association.
The initial part of the modern era concludes with a large area on the science and technology of bowling which shows the factors that influence scoring and the game.
“Visitors will get a clear understanding of how things are made and a general knowledge of the technology of bowling and what are USBC standards,” Edwards said. “There are interactives and looping video to show how lanes are made, how pins and balls are constructed and the oiling of lanes.”