Rick Cleveland has spent a lot of his first six months as executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum compiling a list of upgrades.
That list got prioritized Monday, when Cleveland and most of his 24 board members held a one-day retreat at Luckett Lodge in Brandon.
Phil Hardwick, coordinator of capacity development for Mississippi State’s Stennis Institute of Government, served as moderator/facilitator for the retreat, something he does regularly for nonprofits, business groups and government agencies.
The process of coordinating a goal-oriented, fact-finding retreat always starts with self-evaluation, Hardwick said.
“Basically, we start out with where we are and how we got there,” Hardwick said. “Next is to think about what we do well and what we can do better.”
The answers to those questions, which are formulated after the whole group breaks into smaller groups, are meant to serve as a vision statement for the Hall of Fame, which begins with an incomplete phrase: “I’ll be proud of the Sports Hall of Fame in three years if …”
If the breakout groups serve to fill in the vision statement, the retreat’s overall goal is to set goals. More specifically, it’s to prioritize Cleveland’s list of improvements.
“We took that list and prioritized it,” Hardwick said.
Cleveland said Friday morning that three projects are in the works, funding in hand. Leading off will be refurbishing the Olympic Room’s photos that were back-lit and faded. The redone exhibit will be top-lit, the photos rendered fade-proof and new athletes added that will bring the room current through 2012.
The facility’s entrance will also be rearranged. Clear cases will be stationed right at the front, and will be stocked with memorabilia from that year’s Hall of Fame inductees. The display will rotate every year, as the Hall of Fame adds new members.
“That was the original plan for the entrance, but it’s just gotten away from us,” Cleveland said.
Cleveland’s board also gave him the go-ahead to start upgrading the museum’s interactive kiosks, which are original to the 1996 opening. The new kiosks will have bigger screens, high-definition images, and current content. “They’re the heart and soul of the museum,” Cleveland said.
The fourth project that gained board approval, but doesn’t have funding in place, is a new exhibit that showcases Mississippi’s all-time NFL team. The museum’s original display was broken several years ago. Cleveland said he has started the process of rounding up corporate sponsorships that will pay for a large portion of the exhibit’s cost.
“If I can’t sell Walter Payton, Jerry Rice, Archie Manning and Brett Favre in Mississippi, I’m in the wrong business,” he said.