It's more than Blue-White Weekend at Penn State. It's also the kick off to the 10th anniversary celebration of the Penn State All-Sports Museum, conveniently located at Beaver Stadium.
For the last decade, the museum has been giving fans a unique, interactive look at athletic traditions and accomplishments, including national championship trophies, photos, videos, unique memorabilia and much more from all Nittany Lion programs, past and present.
As part of the milestone commemoration, the museum will feature a temporary exhibit entitled "A Fan's Journey," featuring memorabilia from the private anthology of well-known collector, George Henning.
"I think it's neat," said Henning from his State College home. "I'm looking forward to other fans comparing things in my collection to items that they have; it will be fun to hear the memories that different pieces bring back to people."
Henning's significant Penn State collection started with the game ball from the 1959 football opener, played on Henning's birthday his freshman year. The Lions went on to their first Liberty Bowl that season. Henning purchased the ball, decorated with the season's scores and team signatures in the mid-70s, and he's never looked back.
Today, the collection in his home spans thousands of square feet, including packed file cabinets of programs, magazines, documents, post cards, pictures, ads and signs. Gathered everywhere from estate sales to eBay, the collection boasts a La Vie Yearbook from 1891, a program from the 1954 basketball Final Four, even a historic Newell post from the original Old Main.
Henning has found pieces ranging from wooden toys to a base drum from Penn State's Air Force ROTC band, to a vinyl LP record featuring conversations with Joe Paterno and his players, and even an actual 1972 Sugar Bowl.
Much, but not all of the memorabilia, is related to athletics.
"I think we've gone through a rough six months," he said, "but I think we know [Penn State] will continue and be strong, and this is one more part of the healing process."
Ironically, the museum milestone, celebrating the history of Penn State athletics, comes on a weekend that ushers in a new era of football in Happy Valley.
Henning has been impressed with the way fans have accepted new coach Bill O'Brien, as well as men's basketball boss, Pat Chambers. He hopes his exhibit will lead to other fans sharing their own enthusiasm and unique Penn State items with the museum and fellow fans.
Henning has no plans to stop gathering memorabilia any time soon, and in fact, will add a piece of the museum exhibit to his personal collection.
From collecting Penn State history, to making it, Henning is true-blue, and is excited to share his passion with fans throughout the anniversary celebration, beginning this weekend.
Special open house hours will be offered Saturday evening and all day Sunday. Additional anniversary events planned in coming months include stadium tours, films, special speakers and more. Information is available at the museum website: www.gopsusports.com/museum.
Kellie Goodman Shaffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.