Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson is getting a museum and learning center included in its development, thanks to a $5 million gift to Montclair State University from alumnus and Paterson native Chuck Muth of the Class of 1977 and his wife, Laura Muth, according to a Monday announcement from Montclair President Jonathan Koppell.
The news came during a presentation at Mary Ellen Kramer Park in Paterson, adjacent to historic Hinchliffe Stadium, and featured guests including city and state legislators, elected officials and officials from the city of Paterson and Paterson Public Schools.
“Chuck Muth personifies what makes Montclair students special: perseverance, grit and a commitment to giving back to the communities that have shaped their lives,” Koppell stated. “This gift will allow Montclair to continue building on its efforts to serve the public good in Paterson, where we feel we can partner to create solutions that will deliver lasting change for one of New Jersey’s most vibrant communities.”
The museum and learning center will highlight the history of Negro League Baseball and the stadium’s legacy as a cultural touchstone. The Charles J. Muth Museum of Hinchliffe Stadium, as it will be known, will serve as an educational and community hub for the city of Paterson and Montclair State students and faculty.
The gift furthers the Muth family’s continued support of Montclair State. Growing up near Hinchliffe Stadium, Chuck Muth graduated from Montclair in 1977 and has served on the advisory board of the university’s Feliciano School of Business since 2013. The Muths also have an endowed scholarship at Montclair that is named for Chuck Muth’s parents, Charles and Madeline Muth, that supports business students from Paterson.
“My roots in Paterson go back many generations. I grew up and attended schools only blocks from the iconic Hinchliffe Stadium and, like many others, have fond memories of attending events there,” Muth said. “The opportunity to work alongside Montclair State University on the stadium revitalization project presented a terrific way for me to give back in a meaningful way to the city that played such a pivotal and inspiring role in helping to build my personal foundation and launch a successful career in business.”
Montclair will oversee the educational programming for the museum, which will include the curation and presentation of a wide range of exhibits and programs for diverse audiences. It is envisioned that a variety of educational outreach activities will connect the museum to the diverse communities of Paterson. The facility will also become the on-the-ground home of Montclair and Paterson’s expanding community development initiatives.
The city and university are committed to strengthening a relationship-based approach to community development that focuses on building trust and meaningful connection. In addition to benefits for community members, the partnership will provide additional experiential learning opportunities for Montclair students to solve pressing challenges and make a difference.
“When we set out to bring back Hinchliffe Stadium, we knew it would be a team effort,” Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh said. “We appreciate our partnership with Montclair State University to help make history again.”