The past is the best benchmark we can find to measure how well horse racing does today. Museums have academic intentions in most cases, but horse racing uses them for an assesment of the sport, which is beneficial going into the future. Records of the tribulations of the best jockeys of a bygone age are the optimal sources of inspiration for young people to take up the gutsy vocation. Riding in horse racing is integral to its best traditions, and little has changed in this respect over time. Feats of past thoroughbreds are also inspiring, though actual performance by their progeny is more living proof on the track! Horse racing lovers can spend endless hours pouring over the accomplishments of famous thoroughbreds. Photographs, memorabilia, and whatever accounts may be available, are invaluable for enthusiasts and for top collectors.
The Internet has robbed museums of some of their notional values in many fields of human endeavor, and the effect in horse racing is most devastating! Top web sites with video archives of past events can rival the best collections! Why visit a museum when you can relive the glorious past of horse racing in the comfort of your home on your computer screen? However, physical mementos have their unique values, especially for old-timers of the horse racing world!
The competition between traditional museums and the Internet may be intense but collectors can make use of multi-media technology to enhance the value of their displays, giving visitors the feeling of actually being there.
An interesting concept which may be worth exploring is to have traveling museums of horse racing. They could move from one track to another, perhaps with thoroughbreds and their entourages. Such a step would certainly take horse racing to the doorsteps of people, and help to bring in new crowds. Another innovation would be to go beyond jockeys and thoroughbreds of the past, and include artefacts and accounts of the most successful punters, reputed book makers, hard-working stable hands, expert veterinarians, and most successful breeder. These vital stakeholders of the horse racing arena rarely get their dues!