For the first time in three and a half decades, the Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation does not have Mike Gibbons at the helm.
The foundation, operator of the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum at 216 Emory Street, announced this week that Gibbons, its first and only executive director, is shifting roles with the organization and has become its director emeritus and historian effective this week. In his new position, Gibbons will oversee all curatorial, archival and exhibit development projects.
Shawn Herne, longtime curator and deputy director, has been named the new executive director and will be responsible for day-to-day operations. Herne has been affiliated with the museum for more than 16 years, primarily as its chief curator. He was also executive director of the Hammond-Harwood House in Annapolis.
Founded to celebrate George Herman Ruth and preserve the place where he was born, the organization is nearly 45 years old. Before the change, Gibbons was the longest-serving museum head in Baltimore. He began working at the birthplace as a volunteer and became its first executive director in 1982.
Over the years, he has built the birthplace and museum into a nationally recognized attraction, expanded its offerings to include more of Maryland sports history and forged an alliance with the Baltimore Orioles. He oversaw construction of a second attraction, the Sports Legends Museum, which operated at Camden Station from 2005 to 2015 and is currently searching for a new home.
Gibbons said yesterday that he has enjoyed his years at the museum and getting to know people such as Brooks Robinson, Johnny Unitas, Chuck Thompson, Julia Ruth Stevens and William Donald Schaefer.
“On behalf of my wife, Sandi, and son, Michael, I want to thank the Babe Ruth Museum for giving me the chance to be excited and happy to go to work every day for the past 35 years,” he said in a statement. “216 Emory Street, for me, proved not just the birthplace of George Herman Ruth, but a lasting cradle of Maryland Sports Heritage.”
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