Although you might not expect it, the Roberto Clemente Museum in Lawrenceville is about much more than the Pirates’ baseball legend; this museum has something for everyone. Even if you don’t necessarily love baseball or know much about Clemente, you’re bound to find something here that appeals to you. Whether it’s the beautiful old firehouse in which the museum is housed, the amazing photography on display, or even the classy wine bar, this museum is sure to keep you surprised and interested.
Pittsburgh Pirate, Roberto Clemente
First and foremost, this is, of course, a museum dedicated to the great baseball legend, Roberto Clemente. Baseballs, bats, uniforms, old letters and documents, photographs, and even a couple Gold Glove awards combine to tell the story of Clemente.
But what really brings this museum to life are the guides. They are incredibly engaging storytellers with a wealth of knowledge about all things Clemente, and they really put into perspective his accomplishments. After our visit we got the sense that if you love baseball just as much as the guides do, you could easily spend hours chatting away with them.
Amazing Exhibits Everywhere
One of the most unique exhibits in the museum is a display of autographed baseballs that have been signed by sports legends that have visited the museum. They are red, white, and blue, and are formed into an American flag. Perhaps even cooler than seeing this exhibit was watching people’s eyes light up as they approached this exhibit and realized what it was. It’s pretty impressive to see all the greatness that has passed through the museum to pay tribute to Clemente.
The Photographs Make Baseball History Come Alive
One of our favorite aspects of the museum is the brilliant photographs on display. As the museum owner, Duane Rieder, is himself a professional photographer, it’s no wonder that these works of art are a prominent feature in the museum. We found ourselves getting pulled into dozens of different photographs as if we were actually there because of their artistry and ability to tell a great story. Check out the photographs on the second floor that tell the story of the locker room after the Pirates’ 1971 World Series win and you’ll see what we mean!
For Everyone Else, Arriba Wine Bar
And if that isn’t enough to get you over to the museum, perhaps the wine bar will! Rieder has just this past year turned his winemaking hobby into another business venture with the opening of the wine bar, Arriba, featuring his Enginehouse 25 wines.
It’s a beautiful space with an ornate tin ceiling, impressive wood top bar, and, of course, an underlying baseball theme that’s incorporated into the wine bottle labels. Grapes are shipped in from all over the world and the wine (mostly red) is made on sight. You can try a tasting flight if you just can’t decide between the Grenache and the Cabernet, and you’ll definitely want to round out your experience with a charcuterie board that features carefully curated domestic cheeses from Wheel and Wedge.
Didn’t we say this one had something for everyone?
The Clemente Museum is located at 3339 Penn Avenue in Lawrenceville and is open by appointment only. Occasional open houses are also schedule, one of which we attended for this article.
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