By Andrea Vasquez
What do Dionne Warwick, Bill Parcells and Joe Piscopo have in common? They’re all in the 2013 class of New Jersey Hall of Fame inductees. Joining more than 60 others from past years, many of whom are honored in the state Hall of Fame’s new mobile museum, an 850-square-foot trailer packed full of Jersey pride.
“The whole point of the mobile is to challenge children — and adults, for that matter — to think about what’s possible, to dream. And I think our inductees prove that when you dream, and you make a plan and you work hard, and you never give up, anything is possible,” said Steve Edwards, president of the New Jersey Hall of Fame Foundation board.
This museum is the only mobile Hall of Fame in the country and has been years in the making. Sponsors donated the $400,000 to buy the trailer and equipment, and Edwards and his team helped bring the museum to life.
“From Edison to Einstein, Springsteen to Morrison, our inductees have shaped the world in a very profound way. And I think that’s something that we should all be very proud of and inspired by,” said Edwards.
Today’s event kicked off the museum’s tour, which will travel through the state and along the shore for the rest of the summer. In September, the trailer will start visiting schools as a sort of “field trip on wheels.” Edwards expects the museum to reach more than 100 schools in the next year.
“There are politicians, actors, writers, scientists — people coming from all different professions. So no matter what a kid would like to do, they can read the history of the person who is in the profession that they might like to be in,” said author Carol Higgins Clark, daughter of a past inductee.
“To be able to have this museum show up at their school and learn about not only the great people that are inducted, but the back stories and what motivated them, what made them great people, what did they do, what did they achieve, what did they accomplish? So I think that’s fantastic,” said former Major League Baseball player Al Leiter, a member of the New Jersey Hall of Fame Advisory Commission.
The New Jersey Hall of Fame boasts the likes of Thomas Edison and Bruce Springsteen. And among the 16 inductees joining the ranks today are Grover Cleveland, Whitney Houston and former Gov. Tom Kean.