11 Other Halls of Fame
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame was in the news last weekend as it inducted a banner class that included Michael Jordan, David Robinson, and John Stockton. You might not have much of a shot at getting yourself enshrined at Springfield, but that doesn't mean you can't make a hall of fame. There are dozens of halls of fame out there for non-sporting endeavors, so you might someday end up in one of these:
1. The Insurance Hall of Fame
University of Alabama professor John Bickley came up with the idea for this hall in 1957, and since then it has grown to honor those who have "made a significant and lasting contribution to the insurance industry and therefore also to society as a whole." Members of the International Insurance Society elect a new class of hall inductees each year. Want to hit the actual hall for some actuarial excitement? It's on the campus of the University of Alabama. Be sure to check out the display for the hall's first inductee: Benjamin Franklin, who earned enshrinement as an early proponent of fire insurance in Philadelphia.
2. The National Toy Hall of Fame
This relatively young hall began in Salem, Oregon, in 1998, but later moved to new digs in Rochester, New York, in 2002. It doesn't honor toys' inventors; instead it honors the toys themselves. The inaugural class of inductees included Barbie, Crayola crayons, and Play-Doh, among others. More recent classes have included esoteric inductees like cardboard boxes and that most do-it-yourself of all toys, the simple stick.
3. The New Jersey Hall of Fame
Since its opening in 2007, this organization has honored many of New Jersey's finest citizens for their contributions to the arts, sports, and science. How could you say no to a hall of fame that had a 2009 class of inductees that featured Carl Sagan, Walt Whitman, Shaquille O'Neal, and Jon Bon Jovi?
4. The National Mining Hall of Fame
If you ever find yourself feeling curious about the brightest lights of the mining world, head to Leadville, Colorado. The museum, which is housed in a 71,000-square-foot building that used to be a junior high school, honors contributors ranging from Alfred Nobel to Phillip Deidesheimer, who invented the square-set method of timbering mine shafts.
5. The AVN Hall of Fame
The adult entertainment trade magazine AVN puts on a high-profile annual awards show, but there are some honors that are even more prestigious than Best New Starlet. Each year AVN also inducts several legends in the pornography field into its hall of fame, a group whose ranks include Larry Flynt and Ron Jeremy.
Interestingly, the adult entertainment industry apparently needs multiple halls of fame, as the X-Rated Critics Organization has been inducting porn stars and directors into its own hall of fame since 1985.
6. The Robot Hall of Fame
Every young robot surely hopes to someday be enshrined at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Science Center. The center's RoboWorld exhibit houses the Robot Hall of Fame, which honors real and fictional robots alike. The 2009 class of inductees features the T-800 Terminator (from The Terminator) as well as the Roomba and two of NASA's Mars rovers.
7. The Canadian News Hall of Fame
This Toronto-based hall of fame honors people who have made lasting contributions to Canadian journalism. Inductees include the currently incarcerated newspaper magnate Conrad Black.
8. The International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame
The next time your car needs a tow, don't just call the first guy you find in the yellow pages. Try to get a hall of famer. This Chattanooga hall and museum has enshrined the top contributors to the towing industry since 1986. The museum also includes a "Wall of the Fallen" that honors towers who have tragically lost their lives while on duty.
9. The National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame
The next time you're in Euclid, Ohio, you might have to hit this accordion-heavy hall. According to the hall's website, it "is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of polka music." If you're like me and didn't know that there was a Cleveland style of polka, the hall pleasantly describes the tunes as being derived from Slovenian folk music and being "the happiest sound around."
10. The Mascot Hall of Fame
Here's a hall you can visit without leaving your desk. This online-only hall is the brainchild of David Raymond, who is better known as the original Phillie Phanatic. Since 2005 Raymond and his executive committee, with a little help from online voters, have been enshrining some of the country's top mascots on the hall's website. Past honorees include Western Kentucky University's fabulous Big Red and the always-delightful Mr. Met.
11. The Quilters Hall of Fame
Ever wonder who has made outstanding and lasting contributions to the world of quilting? Take a trip to Marion, Indiana and wonder no more. The museum, which has operated since 1979, has a pretty neat location: it's in the former home of Marie Webster, a quilting pioneer who wrote the first American book on the subject in 1915. If all you know about quilts is that they keep you toasty warm throughout the winter, this could be a pretty informative trip.