President Obama visits Cooperstown today promoting tourism industry ahead of vacation season

Steve Jurvetson/via Flickr
May 22, 2014

The village of Cooperstown is preparing for one of its most high-profile tourists ever. President Obama visits the Baseball Hall of Fame later today to promote tourism.

Cooperstown is a one-stoplight town of 2,000 people. As home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, it’s on the map for tourists and baseball fans.

But attendance at the museum has been waning over the past decade. About 250,000 visitors wandered its corridors last year – that’s down more than 60,000 a year from numbers in 2004.

President Obama wants to highlight tourism as an export and economic driver. He’ll make a short trip to the hall late this afternoon and that will boost attention at the start of a busy summer.

Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson says excitement in town, and at the museum, is palpable.

"The hope is that he has a chance to enjoy himself a little bit, but the fact that he’s coming to Cooperstown and giving a speech at the hall of fame speaks volumes onto itself and should incredibly meaningful."

The hall of will be closed for the day – a rare occurrence – and the event is private. Obama is the first president to ever visit there.

The baseball mecca, the nation’s oldest sports hall of fame, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.