August 2008 Issue
Ohioan - Jason Aikens
Pro Football Hall of Fame Curator
Claim to Fame: Aikens is the collections curator at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He coordinates all donations and verifies their authenticity. He also goes to the Super Bowl every year to help with the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s display at the “NFL Experience” exhibit.
Favorite Athlete Growing Up: Eric Dickerson of the Los Angeles Rams. Aikens met Dickerson when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999. “It was kind of overwhelming,” he says. “I tried not to gush.”
How He Got His Start: Aikens received his bachelor’s degree in history from Michigan State University. He interned at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana, in 1996. After obtaining a master’s degree in history from Western Michigan University in 1997, he began his career at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Interesting Find: Aikens discovered that the first Latin American to play in the NFL was Ignacio Molinet, who came from Cuba to play for the Frankford (Pennsylvania) Yellow Jackets in 1927.The story was uncovered when Molinet’s granddaughter called Aikens, asking if the Hall of Fame would be interested in the contract Molinet signed to play with the Yellow Jackets.
Hardest Part of His Job: Constant travel forces him to spend a lot of time away from his wife, Cindy, and their 2-year-old daughter, Angie. Both accompanied him to Phoenix for the Super Bowl in January. “I have never spent a Super Bowl weekend with my wife and she is a big football fan,” Aikens says. “It was a nice change of pace.”