SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Officials from the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame together with noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder/CEO Johnny Morris today announced plans to establish a permanent home for the exhibit and collection honoring bass fishing’s legends as part of Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri. The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame will open to the public as a key feature inside Wonders of Wildlife – the largest, most immersive fish and wildlife attraction in the world – when it celebrates its grand opening on September 21, 2017.
The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame showcases the sport’s icons and individuals who further the sport of bass fishing. Developed in partnership with the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.), the exhibit includes a fascinating collection of artifacts and memorabilia including authentic rods and reels, antique lures and historical photos. More than 60 Hall of Fame members will be featured including Bill Dance, Jimmy Houston, Roland Martin, Johnny Morris, Ray Scott, President George H.W. Bush and many others. Several artifacts date back to the early days of B.A.S.S. tournaments in the 1960s, including the scale used to weigh record catches and the first BASSMASTER Classic victory trophy.
“To be part of a transformational project like Wonders of Wildlife and share the story of bass fishing with generations of future visitors is a dream come true,” said Donald Howell, president of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame board of directors. “There is no better location to honor the individuals that have played a crucial role in bass fishing. Visitors will be blown away by all that Wonders of Wildlife encompasses, and we’re grateful to Johnny Morris for his partnership and bringing this vision to life in such compelling fashion.”
The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame joins an extraordinary collection of exhibits and galleries that showcase national conservation organizations within a single “must-see” destination experience – telling the story of hunters and anglers conserving wildlife and the outdoors. Other partner galleries include The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Fishing Hall of Fame, the Boone and Crockett Club’s National Collection of Heads and Horns, the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum and the National Archery Hall of Fame.
“Our mission is to establish a world-class destination that celebrates people who hunt, fish, and act as stewards of the land and water,” said Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, conservationist and visionary behind the Wonders of Wildlife. “There are so many notable hunters and anglers that have played an important role in the conservation of our precious natural resources and habitats. We are honored to welcome the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame to help further enrich that story for our visitors.”
Wonders of Wildlife consists of an all-new 1.5-million-gallon aquarium adventure showcasing 35,000 live fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds, 70,000 square feet of immersive wildlife galleries and dioramas and more than a mile of immersive trails and exhibits. Located adjacent to Bass Pro Shops National Headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, the 320,000-square-foot experience celebrates people who hunt, fish, and act as stewards of the land and water.
Founded in 2000, the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to all anglers, manufacturers and members of the media who further the sport of bass fishing. Honorees include notable contributors to the sport who elevate it to the professional level and lesser-known supporters that have and continue to sustain bass fishing, both honoring the past and looking to the future. While previous plans called for a stand-alone location in Alabama, organizers recognized the opportunity to reach a far larger audience by partnering with Wonders of Wildlife.