Mascot Hall of Fame a contender for USA Today’s Best New Museum –

Fire off a few celebratory shots from a T-shirt cannon, because Whiting’s new Mascot Hall of Fame is up for a major award.

The wacky family-friendly children’s museum that enshrines furry sports mascots like Benny the Bull was nominated for a USA Today 10Best Travel Award, and you could help vote it in as the Best New Museum in North America.

The Mascot Hall of Fame, located at 1851 Front St. near the Whiting lakefront, is dedicated to legendary sports mascots, both collegiate and professional, like the Phillie Phanatic, Mr. Met, the Jazz Bear and Ohio State University’s Brutus. The museum is one of 20 nominees nationally.

“2019 saw the opening of the Mascot Hall of Fame in Indiana, a new museum ‘celebrating the unsung heroes of sports and communities,'” USA Today said. “This kid-friendly space includes a t-shirt shooter, sports court and interactive playground area, hands-on Science of Silliness Lab and a Build-A-Mascot Workshop from Build-A-Bear.”

Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura said the recognition in a national publication could help drive traffic to the museum, which is aimed at bringing more year-round tourism to the beach community on Lake Michigan.

“We’re extremely happy we got nominated,” he said. “This will bring some attention to the museum. We’re going to do some Facebook blasting and encourage local people to vote.”

People have four weeks to vote in the contest and can vote once a day. Voting runs through Feb. 17 and winners will be announced on Feb. 28. To vote, visit

The other nominees are:

• Bell Museum in St. Paul, Minnesota

• Carolina Music Museum in Greenville, South Carolina

• Chico Children’s Museum in Chico, California

• Cook Museum of Natural Science in Decatur, Alabama

• The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum

• Glenstone in Potomac, Maryland

• Hood Museum of Art in Hanover, New Hampshire

• Imagine Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida

• Institute for Contemporary Art in Richmond, Virginia

• Louisiana Children’s Museum in New Orleans

• Museum at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis

• National Comedy Center in Janestown, New York

• National Nordic Museum in Seattle

• National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Columbus, Ohio

• Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida

• Poster House in New York City

• Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton, Alberta

• Stewart Cultural Center and Museum in Carson City, Nevada

• Statute of Liberty Museum in New York City

Gallery: Mascot Hall of Fame induction ceremony