Friday, March 4, 2011

International Swimming Hall of Fame Museum

Treat your body well, and it'll see you through for many years.
                                            -Johnny Weissmuller

Every day I run past the Swimming Hall of Fame. Located near the beach, this complex houses a museum, Olympic size pools and a library. Over the years, I have swam at the Hall of Fame and visited the museum. Today, I decided to re-visit this Smithsonian of swimming. The International Swimming Hall of Fame Museum showcases exhibits related to swimming, water-polo, diving and pool related activities.

Fort Lauderdale is internationally  recognized  as the World's capital of swimming, diving and water polo since the Hall of Fame opened in 1965. For generations, university and college swimmers would train in Fort Lauderdale in the wintertime. The omnipresent Gulf Stream keeps ocean waters warm in the winter, and the abundant sunlight creates ideal conditions for year round training.

The main building showcases, a kaleidoscope history of swimming. One such exhibit is Ben Franklin's Useful Hints for Learning to Swim from 1788. The "Black Splash" exhibit features the Civil Rights struggle in the Jim Crowe south during the 1960's with photos.

There is also an exhibit wing located above the Pro Shop that features the art of swimming. Paintings, prints and photographs related to swimming, diving and water polo throughout history are displayed. Bruce Weber's photos are showcased as well as other photographers like Guillaume Deutsch.
Bruce Weber's B&W swim photos on display.
Johnny "Tarzan" Weismuller is immortalized at this museum, with a life size figure.  Also included are Tarzan ephemera, and Weismuller's  swimming gear from different competitions and movie memorabilia. The museum also showcases swimming in the entertainment industry.

Greg Louganis' five Olympic medals, swimsuit and memorabilia are on display.

There are exhibits on Water Polo. Water Polo for years was dominated by the Hungarians, which is fascinating considering Hungary is a land locked country....
The Mark Spitz exhibit is interesting. A Life-size wax figure depicts Mark Spitz' 1972, 7 gold medal performance. The display includes the actual Munich pool starting block.
The swim suit exhibit features bathing suits throughout modern history. This is the pious hijab Islamic bathing suit, I don't think this would be good for doing laps...
The Details:
International Swimming Hall of Fame Museum
One Hall of Fame Drive ( one block south of Las Olas Blvd, East of A1A)
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Telephone: 954.462.6536
Admission is $8. Special pricing for students and seniors. Parking available on site. However, there is cheaper metered parking across the street starting at $.75 per hour.

Open Mon to Fri 9am to 5pm
Sat & Sun - 9am to 2pm

Also at the ISHOF are pools for public use, a 25 yard and a 50 meter pool. Swimming programs and swim camps are also held there.
The Pro Shop/Gift Shop has a great selection of swimwear, books and accessories.

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