One of the lasting images of Bob Hope is the iconic comedian with a golf club in tow.
Hope's affinity for golf went far beyond the stage. His name was attached to a PGA Tour event in Palm Springs for 47 years, which has evolved into the Humana Challenge, set for Jan. 14-20, at the PGA West Palmer Course in La Quinta.
That connection can be seen starting Dec. 12 when a 2,500 square-foot exhibition highlighting Hope's life, titled “Bob Hope: An American Treasure,” comes to the Palm Springs Air Museum, 745 N. Gene Autry Trail.
This is the first local stop since the exhibition began its five-year tour in 2011 at the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame at Lambeau Field. Other port of calls have been the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich., and the Greenwich Heritage Centre in London to coincide with the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
“It was a major priority for us to display this exhibition in Palm Springs,” said Jack Peter, chief operating officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame. “Bob Hope is synonymous with the area, and golf fans around the world know Palm Springs because of his incredible support of the golf tournament. It is an ideal place for the exhibition.”
The exhibit, built from financial support of the Bob & Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation, will remain on display through early April 2013.
Patrons will view many artifacts from Hope's time in Palm Springs, including the famed golf cart shaped like Hope’s face. There are more than 160 artifacts, including Hope’s Congressional Gold Medal, honorary Oscar statuette, Honorary Veterans citation, and PGA of America money clip. More than 200 vintage photos and seven video displays tell the story about Hope’s early years as part of an immigrant family in the early 20th century, his rise as a star of stage, screen and radio, the relationships he had with U.S. presidents, his devotion to the U.S. military and his love of golf.
"The Palm Springs Air Museum is thrilled to have this exhibit on display, surrounded by our wonderful Warbirds,” said Fred Bell, executive director of the Palm Springs Air Museum. “We’re looking forward to continuing, educating and expanding Bob Hope’s legacy to area tourists and residents.”
Linda Hope, daughter of the late entertainer, is elated to see the exhibit come 'home'.
“Both my Dad and Mother would have loved to know that this exhibit would be housed just down the street from their much loved home on Southridge Drive,” said Linda Hope. “They would also find great pleasure in the fact that the exhibition would be held at the Palm Springs Air Museum, founded by their good friends Bob and Jo Rose Pond. To know that school children from the area will have the opportunity to visit and learn about them and their love of the Coachella Valley, of golf and their commitment to helping their fellow man, I'm sure would warm their hearts.”