Braves, Atlanta History Center honor Hank Aaron with exhibit

Hank Aaron’s widow Billye Aaron listens to a speaker during the ceremony for the new statue and mural in honor of Hank Aaron at the Adams Park baseball complex, Aug. 4, 2022, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz /

Hank Aaron’s widow Billye Aaron listens to a speaker during the ceremony for the new statue and mural in honor of Hank Aaron at the Adams Park baseball complex, Aug. 4, 2022, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz /

On April 8, 1974, Atlanta Braves star outfielder Hank Aaron hit his 715th career MLB home run, breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time record of 714, which previously stood since 1935.

The home run, hit off Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Al Downing in the bottom of the fourth inning of an early-season contest at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, went on to be one of the most memorable moments in Atlanta history.

On Monday – the 50th anniversary of Aaron’s record-breaking home run – Aaron’s widow, Billye Aaron, will cut the ribbon to open the Atlanta History Center’s 2,500 square-foot Hank Aaron exhibit that will pay homage to Aaron’s life and career. Aaron died in 2021 at the age of 86.

The exhibit, named “More Than Brave: The Life of Henry Aaron,” is located in the Atlanta History Center’s Exhibit Hall in Buckhead and will be open to the public beginning on Tuesday and run through September of 2025.

Monday’s ribbon cutting and 50th anniversary celebration is invite-only. After the ribbon cutting, the Aaron family, along with some of Hank Aaron’s former teammates, will lead a panel discussion over a luncheon.

The exhibit features a myriad of items, artifacts and memorabilia from Aaron’s life on and off the field. A large percentage of the items on display were collected from the Braves, the Aaron family, the Atlanta History Museum and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

“As an organization, we sat back and really looked at the significance of the 50th anniversary of what – to this day, in my opinion – is one of the most iconic moments in sports,” said Danielle Bedasse, Braves Vice President of Community Affairs and Executive Director of the Atlanta Braves Foundation. “We really wanted to use this opportunity to recognize the moment and honor the man. Hank Aaron is the epitome of the Braves organization in many ways for who he was on and off the field.”

Atlanta History Center President and Chief Executive Officer Sheffield Hale said the Braves contacted the AHC about the exhibit just in the nick of time.

“The Braves contacted us and it was just like perfect,” Hale said. “We had just enough time to get it done. They provided the funding for it. I just came down from seeing it and it’s great. Some great stuff is going to be in there and it’s going to be a fun exhibit. It looks so good. I love the photography that’s in there and the wall murals. We’ve had relationships with the Braves and dealt with the Braves before. We had connectivity to the Braves but this is the first time we’ve been able to have an exhibit like this.”

Scenes from “More Than Brave. The Life of Henry Aaron” at the Atlanta History Center on April 3, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves)

Credit: Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Brave

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Credit: Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Brave

Billye Aaron was crucial to the exhibit as she opened up the Aaron home to the Braves and the AHC.

“Mrs. Aaron has just been a tremendous partner and visionary,” Bedasse said. “She opened her doors. We had several visits to her home. We got to tour her incredible history museum. She was very generous in sharing pieces that the history center thought would be relevant. Over the course of the last two months, she might find another box in a closet or attic and give us a call. It has just really been an incredible gift to Atlanta.”

Paul Crater, the Atlanta History Center’s Vice President of Collections and Research Services, is the author of three books about the history of Atlanta: Baseball in Atlanta; World War II in Atlanta; Lost Atlanta (which he co-authored).

“The team here felt that it was appropriate that I come to play a role here in terms of giving an overall sense of the history of Atlanta,” Crater said. “I’m an archivist so I try to understand what other repositories have, including our own and (find) historical resources that we could use for this exhibition.”

Crater made several visits to the Aaron home during the exhibit’s development.

“Some of the objects we worked really closely with Billye Aaron (to get),” Crater said. “She was great. In her house was a signed comic strip from a Peanuts cartoon by the creator Charles Schulz. He created a comic strip during Henry’s home run chase and it kind of addressed the hate mail, and support, that Henry Aaron received. He uses Snoopy as a stand-in for Henry Aaron.

“We have one of his home run balls, No. 754. That was his last walk-off home run and we have Bob Uecker on the call for that. We have rings from All-Star games and trophies from All-Star games. We have his scouting report from 1952 done by a scout from the Boston Braves about an 18-year-old Henry Aaron that really gives you a rundown of what type of player he was.”

Bedasse explained why the Braves chose the Atlanta History Center for the exhibit.

“It was a little bit of a match made in heaven,” Bedasse said. “It’s not necessarily (about) the (home run) record anymore but it was such a moment in American history, in Braves history and Atlanta history. That was really central to the story. So much of Hank’s life and legacy in business and philanthropy and with the Braves is centered in Atlanta. That’s a big part of the story that we wanted to tell.”

“This is an exhibition about Henry Aaron’s life,” Crater said. “Not just the home run chase. We hope that the exhibition will give people a better understanding of what an extraordinary life and career he had. The home run chase in 1973 and 1974 is the centerpiece to that but there was so much more to his life. We have tried to scour the earth to find photographs and objects and quotes of his that help tell the story.”

Hank Aaron's Hall of Fame ring that will be on display at the Atlanta History Center has part of the "More Than Brave. The Life of Henry Aaron”  exhibit. (Photo by Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves)

Credit: Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Brave

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Credit: Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Brave

Atlanta is the host city for the 2025 MLB All-Star Game. Traditionally held in July, the All-Star Game will come to Atlanta two months before the Hank Aaron exhibit closes.

“That’s obviously an incredible opportunity,” Hale said. “They deliberately (did that). They said ‘Can we have it through the All-Star Game?’ and we said ‘Of course.’ It was just perfect timing and it all worked out.”

Tickets to the museum, which includes the exhibit, can be purchased online at or at the Atlanta History Center ticket office.