Thanks in large part to his half-century association with the PGA Tour's Bob Hope Desert Classic (now known as the Humana Challenge), legendary entertainer Bob Hope is forever linked to both golf and Palm Springs. And now through April, the Coachella Valley is hosting a traveling version of the World Golf Hall of Fame's "Bob Hope: An American Treasure" exhibit.
"It was a major priority for us to display this exhibition in Palm Springs," said Jack Peter, chief operating officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame. "Bob Hope is synonymous with the area, and golf fans around the world know Palm Springs because of his incredible support of the golf tournament. It is an ideal place for the exhibition and we are thankful to the Bob & Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation for its support in bringing it here."
The exhibit tells Hope's life story through a series of 15 themed displays that celebrate his comedic contributions, achievements in entertainment, relationships with a number of U.S. Presidents and, of course, his life in golf. It traces his family's arrival at Ellis Island, life as part of an immigrant family, his struggles to succeed in New York, the success and family life he found in Hollywood and how golf and his love for the military took him around the world.
"Both my dad and mother would have loved to know that this exhibit would be housed just down the street from their much-loved home on Southridge Drive," Hope's daughter Linda Hope told the Valley News. "To know that schoolchildren from the area will have the opportunity to visit and learn about them and their love of the Coachella Valley, of golf and their commitment to helping their fellow man, I'm sure would warm their hearts."
Covering 2,500 square feet, the exhibit includes a 30-stop audio tour and an educational program. It also includes reproductions of more than 200 vintage photos, seven videos and more than 170 items -- including one of Hope's original vaudeville contract from 1922, his Ellis Island medal, the final set of golf clubs he used, some Emmy and Honorary Oscar awards, gifts and awards from Presidents and other celebrities, his Congressional Gold Medal and more.
The exhibit is on display at the Palm Springs Air Museum. This stop is just one of many on its five-year world tour that already has included visits to such venues as the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and the Greenwich Heritage Centre in London.