BNHA Grant Lets Babe Ruth’s Birthplace Prep for New Visitors

February 06, 2017

On February 6, 1895, Babe Ruth was born in the small three-story home at 216 Emory Street. During the late 1960s, concerned citizens became worried about the house’s fate and organized a community effort to protect Ruth’s birthplace and three adjoining rowhouses. With preservation efforts languishing, the City of Baltimore purchased the properties and in 1973 the Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation was established. In 1974, the four rowhomes opened as museum and shrine to the Baltimore baseball legend.

After more than 40 years of operation, the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum was in need of major infrastructure repairs and renovations to improve visitor services and accessibility for those with disabilities. To accommodate the repairs, the museum needed to close to the public for four months, losing much needed revenue from both admissions and sales from its gift shop.

In 2015, the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum was awarded $6,250 in a BNHA Heritage Investment operating grant to support the museum’s operations during its period of closure. The funding helped to meet operating expenses and allowed the staff to develop new exhibitions and public programming for the renovated facility.

Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum at 216 Emory Street (Photo Courtesy of David Guiney)

“The Babe Ruth Birthplace renovation project has been an exciting chapter in the Foundation’s history,” said Shawn M. Herne, deputy director of the Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation. “With a new renovated facility and all new exhibits, the Babe Ruth Birthplace can continue to celebrate the greatest baseball player of all time. The house has become a national treasure and we are thrilled more people can now enjoy it. We couldn’t have done it without our friends at the City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland, the Baltimore National Heritage Area, and the France-Merrick Foundation.”

Today the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum is open and more easily accessible to all visitors. The museum now has an ADA-compliant entrance and accessible restrooms, an elevator, and other improvements for safety and code compliance. In honor of the Sultan of Swat’s 122nd birthday, take a swing by the museum on Emory Street to learn more about the legend and how Baltimore helped shaped the nation’s pastime.