Hall of Fame seeks new ways to tell Packers' story
Brett Favre's induction into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame could have provided a financial windfall. But the nearly 50-year-old organization decided instead to treat the event like all of its previous induction ceremonies. Mostly.
Granted, it did make 67,000 more seats available for the event, but the money from those tickets is going to charity.
"Even though it's Brett, we didn't want to get away from what we do every year," said Perry Kidder, the Hall's president. "We are not out to turn Brett's induction into a money grab."
Revenue from the sold-out induction banquet will support the organization as it always does, but net proceeds from tickets sold to bowl attendees will be donated to the Favre 4 Hope charitable foundation.
Revenue from its two annual fundraisers — the Packers Hall of Fame Golf Classic and the induction banquet — funds the organization's efforts to be the archivist and repository of Packers history. It also gets corporate sponsorship for events.
Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame Inc. is a nonprofit independent of the Packers and is managed by a 20-member board of directors and a seven-member executive committee. Emeritus directors — there are six — remain on the board but cannot vote. Directors become emeritus directors when they turn 75. If they are in the midst of a three-year term, they are allowed to complete it.
The organization's bylaws allow up to 30 directors, but it's not a figurehead appointment.
"We don't take any letterhead directors. They have to work," said Dennis Tattum, the Hall's vice president and effectively its executive director.
For example, he said, the Hall can't just use a Vince Lombardi quote because, Yogi Berra-like, somebody said he said it.
"A lot of work goes into it," Kidder said. "We can't put a Lombardi quote in the Hall of Fame unless we know he said it."
Three staff members, led by business office manager Gwen Borga, handle day-to-day operations.
The Packers operate the museum, a task they assumed when the Hall of Fame moved to the Lambeau Field Atrium from the Brown County Veterans Memorial Complex in 2003.
The organizations work closely and are talking about extending their relationship for another 25 years.
"We basically understand each other's needs," Tattum said.
Artifacts — there are thousands — belong to the Hall of Fame. Many are not on display. The organization continues to collect uniforms, programs, photos, home movies and other items to document the team's history. It's a never-ending quest, immeasurably abetted by the generosity of Packers fans around the world.
"We've been offered so many things, just as pure donation," said Thomas Murphy, a member of the Hall's board. "I can't imagine the fans of any other sports franchise would donate so many significant pieces over the years."
There are a lot of dedicated Packers fans — and relatives of fans — who believe the Hall of Fame is the best place for cherished items, but board members are considering something they've never done before: making targeted acquisitions to fill gaps in its collection.
"You'll see things come up at some of these auctions and think maybe that's something we should bring home to Green Bay," Murphy said. "Where would that fill a key gap we may have?"
The group also has discussed a traveling Hall of Fame exhibit because so many artifacts aren't being seen.
Artifacts are being bar-coded and entered on a database, which will give the Hall and the Packers a better picture of the collection.
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Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame
• Perry Kidder, president, executive committee; Dennis Tattum, vice president, executive committee; Brice Randall, treasurer, executive committee; Bob Harlan, Thomas Konop, Thomas Murphy and Dr. Donald Sipes II, all executive committee; Michael Becker, Jimmy Feenstra, Matthew Gage, Dale Jager, Samuel Kluck, Geoffrey Lacy, Edward Martin, Michael Prange, Kramer Rock, John Smits, Mark Wagner, Brent Weycker, David Zimmerman.
• James DeWees, Thomas Hutchison, Gary Knafelc, Herman Reckelberg, Robert Southard, Gus Swoboda.
• Gwen Borga, business office manager; Holly Borga, administrative assistant; Katie Wedekind, office assistant.
Packers Hall of Fame inductees
Quarterback Brett Favre is the 154th member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.