New Exhibit – Bryant Museum

Story by WVUA 23’s Maria Blough.

A collection that began in childhood is now the focus of a new exhibit at the Bryant Museum on the campus of The University of Alabama.

Like most children, Alan Blum collected sports memorabilia. But his collection had a unique interest: the items he kept centered on sports figures and organizations promoting tobacco products.

His father was a doctor and told him he should save these items for the future, thinking it would be hard for future generations to believe tobacco and sports had such a strong tie.

“There’s a bit of irony in that one of the most athletic things you can do, baseball or football, somehow got connected with cigarettes through all the athletics. The baseball players like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and others that promoted it,” said Alan Blum, director of the Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society.

Many sports figures through the years have died of tobacco-related causes, including legendary Alabama head football coach Bear Bryant and Heisman winning Auburn football player Pat Sullivan.

Blum said that tobacco use is still a problem in sports, especially in Major League Baseball. He hopes this display will help future athletes think twice about using tobacco.

The new exhibit “Cigarettes + Sports: A Losing Team” will be at the Bryant Museum through April 30. A digital version of the exhibit is available through the Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society’s website: <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”></a>.

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