Exhibit Celebrates Thrilling 1964 Champions Cleveland Browns
NEW Exhibit 1964: When Browns Town was Title Town
Opening Saturday, September 6 at the WRHS History Center
CLEVELAND, OH – The Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) is launching an exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the championship season of the Cleveland Browns. The new exhibit, 1964: When Browns Town was Title Town, focuses on the excitement the community felt as well as the team’s place in history as an underdog team unexpectedly won a championship in a crushing victory. Under Coach Blanton Collier, the Cleveland Browns beat the favored Baltimore Colts to win the NFL Championship 27-0 in front of over 79,000 fans on December 27, 1964.
A wide range of Browns memorabilia relating to the championship team will be included in the exhibition, which was initiated by avid Browns fans and guestcurators Kermit and Joyce Pike, who began their extensive collection with their season tickets and game-day memorabilia from1964. One of the special features of their collection is Browns football cards, including the number one Jim Brown Master Set on the Professional Sports Authenticators registry. After retiring from WRHS as Library Director and Chief Operating Officer, Pike added to his collection to include programs, pennants, autographed footballs, photographs, jerseys, and other souvenirs.
In addition to the Pike collection and WRHS archival material, the exhibit will feature items from the Cleveland Browns,
Pro Football Hall of Fame, Don Gries, and several other private collectors. The exhibit, with an emphasis on the some of the Pro Football Hall of Fame players who played on the 1964 team, is a multi-media experience with memory-rich artifacts of the championship game such as:
- Jim Brown’s contract with the Cleveland Browns signed October 31, 1964
- Championship game football signed by members of the team
- Championship game-worn jersey from #87, 23-year old Tom Hutchinson
- Helmet signed by members of the team
- Never-before exhibited recordings of the championship by Middleton Lambright
- Never-before exhibited sideline photographs by Charles Proctor, Cleveland photographer
- Offensive and Defensive playbooks from the 1964 and 1965 season
- Locker from the 1964 locker room
- Pennants of the era featuring “Brownie”
- Game programs from the 1964 season
- Seat from the stadium signed by team members
- Ticket box, tickets, and turnstile from Municipal Stadium, home of the championship Browns
- Topps and other exceptional trading cards featuring “Jimmy” Brown
Educational and community programs throughout the run of the exhibit featuring speakers, panels, and guest appearances will explore the larger history of the Browns franchise over the 50 years since the championship. They will paint a picture of what the city of Cleveland was like in 1964, a time of great social change and urban renewal. The exhibit runs September 6 through February 2015 at the History Center in University Circle. The exhibit opens with a Preview Party September 5, and a Tailgate Party September 6.
“The thrill of being able to see a championship ring, or the contract that Jim Brown signed with the Browns, or learning that at the time he was known as ‘Jimmy’ Brown, makes the story of the Browns more personal. Western Reserve Historical Society, through our collections and archives, has a vast wealth of material for the public to learn about the history of Cleveland, including our sports history,” said Ed Pershey, VP, Museum Special Projects and Exhibits. “This exhibit brings some of the ‘thrill of victory’ to the public and makes it more accessible through these wonderful pieces of Cleveland Browns history.”
“We are excited to have this exhibit launching at this thrilling time for the Cleveland Browns. With hometown hero, Brian Hoyer and the excitement around Johnny Manziel making headlines in the news, this is an ideal time to commemorate the heroes of 50 years ago from the 1964 championship. We are bringing that story to a new generation of Cleveland Browns fans,” said Kelly Falcone-Hall, President & CEO of WRHS. “This exhibit speaks to the core of our mission and our work here, we are all about the history of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, and we all know that Clevelanders are passionate sports fan—it’s part of our history—part of our story. If this sparks an interest in learning more about Cleveland, or a family history, or just cheering the Browns on to another championship, we’ll count that as a success.”
1964: When Browns Town was Title Town is made possible by the following sponsors and partners: PNC, University Hospitals, Ohio Savings Bank, a division of New York Community Bank, ESPN Cleveland, Lufthouse, and Buffalo Wild Wings. Donors include: Bob and Sally Gries, as well as Don and Mary Jo Dailey, Jack Herrick, John J. and Mary A. Jenkins, and Jim and Anne Schoff. Honorary Exhibit Co-Chairs include Bob and Sally Gries, Paul and Jill Clark, and Jimmy and Dee Haslam. Exhibit Co-Chairs are Jim and Anne Schoff.