Roberto Clemente Museum collection going from Pittsburgh to Puerto Rico — Repeating Islands

A report by Ryan Recker for Pittsburgh Action News. For 25 years, Duane Rieder has been dedicated to accumulating and documenting mementos and memories of Pittsburgh Pirates legend Roberto Clemente. The extensive collection is permanently displayed at the Clemente Museum in Lawrenceville, where Rieder is the executive director and curator. Rieder is now in the […]

Roberto Clemente Museum collection going from Pittsburgh to Puerto Rico — Repeating Islands

A report by Ryan Recker for Pittsburgh Action News.

For 25 years, Duane Rieder has been dedicated to accumulating and documenting mementos and memories of Pittsburgh Pirates legend Roberto Clemente. The extensive collection is permanently displayed at the Clemente Museum in Lawrenceville, where Rieder is the executive director and curator.

Rieder is now in the process of packing up many of the museum’s prized items, shipping them to Clemente’s native home of San Juan and loaning them to the Sports Museum of Puerto Rico for a Roberto Clemente exhibit.

“Everybody can’t wait to see the stuff that we’re putting up, and all of these new images and things that they’ve never seen,” Rieder said. “Most people know that story that Roberto dies in a plane crash on his way to Nicaragua, body never found. That’s the part of the story everybody knows. Now we’re going to fill in the gaps of all the things people don’t know.”

On display will be a treasure of artifacts: hundreds of photos, game-used bats, one of Clemente’s 12 Gold Glove awards and the final jersey he ever wore while managing the San Juan Senators in 1972.

“It’s the last uniform he ever puts on,” Rieder said. “They play a couple of days before he gets on that plane and goes to Nicaragua, so it’s kind of going to be the theme and the star of our show down in Puerto Rico.”

The exhibit will also pay tribute to Clemente’s wife, Vera, who died in November.

“We’re going to do a whole Vera wing with her dresses — the dress that he bought her in Nicaragua. It’s the most beautiful dress you’ve ever seen,” Rieder said. “Roberto buys it in Nicaragua for her. It’s one of the last dresses she ever wears before he passes. They’re doing a fundraiser to load the plane, and she has the dress on. We’re going to have that dress and the photos that we’ve been working on for years in the exhibit now, so we’re going to do a nice little homage to Vera.”

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