When Baseball Went to War: Behind the Scenes of a Museum Exhibit

Hi, I’m Markus Dohner, Exhibit Specialist for the National Museum of the American Sailor. Here at the National Museum of the American Sailor, we design most of our exhibits in-house. In this blog entry, we are going to give you a brief peek at the design process for our “When Baseball Went to War” exhibition.

Baseball Gallery Blog

Every exhibit we design starts off as a two-dimensional plan. This plan shows the overall organization of the exhibit. Things that we consider when designing are the circulation, sight lines, and a color palette. This drawing has a color palette for all the walls and cases.


Scale models such as this one help the exhibit team understand the spatial relationships inside the gallery. You can literally drop a wall down and view the same scenes as a visitor would.

Diamond Panels - 4 new NMAS Lo-Res 4thpan

Graphic designs for the exhibit are created next. Exhibit panels such as this one are a combination of images and text to convey the message of the curator. Color palettes for graphics and paint colors help to convey a mood or feeling for the exhibition. This exhibit, which was originally designed by the Puget Sound Naval Museum, was supplemented with additional panels and artifacts by NMAS.

Closed photo

Before you can install a new exhibition, the previous exhibit must be removed, or de-installed. After the previous show is safely put away, gallery walls are rearranged and painted.


Installing walls for the new Baseball exhibit. After walls are put in place then we paint the gallery.



Painting the exhibit walls and cases.



Installing the mannequin and the opening wall. In addition to staff support, the museum’s fantastic volunteers provide support for the exhibit’s installation.


Contract curator, Dan Smaczny and Markus Dohner taking a break from all the hard work of installing exhibits!


Baseball_Panorama2Baseball_Panorama3Baseball_Panorama4Baseball Installation Views_25Baseball Installation Views_03Installation views of When Baseball Went to War.                             Photos: Markus Dohner

Visit the National Museum of the American Sailor to learn more about the U.S. Navy’s connection to baseball in our special exhibition When Baseball Went To War. You can also watch the exhibit’s companion video When Baseball Went to War: From Ship to Shore on the NMAS YouTube channel.



3 thoughts on “When Baseball Went to War: Behind the Scenes of a Museum Exhibit

  1. Mr. Dohner,
    I am Charles Morgan, grandson of Charles “Gunner” Morgan of Spanish American War fame and the first enlisted man in the Navy to be promoted to an officer. He worked with Thomas Edison at the Key West Naval station in the early 1900’s on depth charges and torpedoes. I have many many artifacts and news paper articles from the 1898 on related to the activities of Gunner Morgan. Admiral Sampson opposed his promotion and there was a national newspaper coverage of the events and the comments of Admiral Sampson. During his naval career he was court marshaled and then pardoned by President Teddy Roosevelt. I have the framed document. Google Charles “Gunner” Morgan and you will find thousands of newspaper articles. I find something new most every day. I am currently working a book about the life of Gunner Morgan and when it is finished I want to donate the items I have to a museum that wants them.
    Please advise.
    Charles Morgan

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Baseball the Navy’s Goodwill Ambassador | Sailors Attic

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s