James Naismith committed his original typewritten rules of “Basket Ball” to paper on Dec. 21, 1891 — “Hung in the gym that the boys might learn the rules,” he said, in a handwritten note added to the document June 28, 1931.
Now you can see all 13 rules yourself, during a free exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo.
The display opens March 4 and continues through May 29. Free, timed tickets are available through Nelson-Atkins.org, at the Info Desk in the Bloch Building, or by calling 816-751-1278.
The rules are owned by David Booth, who purchased the documents at auction in December for $4.33 million. He intends for the rules to find a permanent home at KU.
David Booth wants to display James Naismith’s original rules of “Basket Ball” in Lawrence, at Kansas University, in conjunction with the school’s athletics programs.
Soon, a team of university leaders will be meeting to decide just where, when and how.
And, of course, for how much.
“The university and athletics and everybody — endowment, alumni, the Booths — we’re all going to get together and work this out and come up with a great plan,” said Jim Marchiony, an associate athletics director for Kansas Athletics Inc.
The working group — Marchiony tentatively referred to it as a task force, one whose members have not yet been identified — likely will convene sometime in the next few weeks to start formal discussions about creating an appropriate venue for such important documents: two sheets of paper with the original, typewritten rules for the game Naismith invented back in 1891.
Booth, a graduate of Lawrence High school and Kansas University, bought the rules at auction last month for $4.33 million, with the expressed intention of having the rules permanently displayed at KU. At the time, he indicated they would need “an appropriate venue,” possibly a new museum.
“I think it’s a little bigger than the Booth Family Hall of Athletics,” he said at the time, referring to the center connected to Allen Fieldhouse that already displays KU trophies, basketballs, part of the Hoch Auditorium basketball court and other memorabilia — which, by the way, cost less to build than the rules were to buy. “This is serious stuff.”
Booth, who is chairman and co-CEO of Dimensional Fund Advisors, intends to play an active role in the working group.
“He’ll be involved intimately,” one of his assistants said Wednesday.
Dale Seuferling, president of the KU Endowment Association, said that the group would be focused on coming up with a “permanent solution” for securely storing, displaying and featuring the basketball rules in an appropriate venue.
“The hope certainly would be that it incorporate the Booth Family Hall of Athletics,” Seuferling said. “Every home basketball game, that’s 16,300 visitors. It’s a destination for visitors to campus, whether it’s the middle of June or the middle of December. It’s got public access. There’s a parking garage.”
But the hall, as it stands now, wouldn’t be big enough to handle not only the rules, but all the visitors expected to come with them, Seuferling said. That’s why there will be talk of providing new space for gatherings, such as awards presentations, speaking engagements and others.
Such new space could even include a kitchen, he said, to accommodate catering for special events — something similar to the Dole Institute on West Campus.
“Same concept,” he said. “Very similar.”
Again, the goal is to create an appropriate venue, and Seuferling said that discussions had not yet started about size — “Is it 1,000 square feet, 10,000 square feet?” — or specific location or style or anything else.
Or, again, how much.
“We wouldn’t be able to ask anybody for funding until we know what it is we’re trying to accomplish,” Seuferling said.