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New Gift to UMD Libraries to Document and Preserve Legacy of the Capital Centre

Gift in honor of Abe and Irene Pollin will build community archives worthy of the sports and entertainment venue’s legendary role in Maryland history, memory, and pride.

Photo of the Capital Centre.

The University of Maryland Libraries is pleased to announce a generous gift from the sons of Abe and Irene Pollin to bolster the Capital Centre Community Archive, part of Special Collections and University Archives. The gift will fund the Abe and Irene Pollin Graduate Assistant, who will research and promote awareness of the collection and it will also establish the Abe and Irene Pollin Endowed Program Support Fund to provide lasting stability.

A popular concert venue and sports arena in Landover, MD, the Capital Centre was home to the NBA’s Washington Bullets (renamed Washington Wizards in 1995) and NHL’s Washington Capitals until the teams moved into DC in 1997. The Capital Centre was the creation of Abe and Irene Pollin, who owned the Bullets and Capitals and envisioned a venue for vibrant community activity that would provide memorable experiences for a generation of visitors. 

In addition to a robust sporting schedule, including boxing matches featuring Muhammed Ali, the Capital Centre played host to horse shows, Ice Capades, and it was a regular tour stop for some of the world’s biggest bands and performers including Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and Madonna.

“My brother Robert and I could not be prouder to honor our parents’ vision and legacy through this contribution to the University of Maryland Libraries,” said Jim Pollin, son of Abe and Irene Pollin.

The Capital Centre Community Archive will document the community of Marylanders and Washingtonians that formed around the Centre, including ephemera from former staff, volunteers, and event-goers. The collection includes memorabilia, posters, photographs, signs, and Capital Centre publications.

Joni Floyd, P.hD., Curator of the Maryland and Historical Collections in Special Collections and University Archives, is excited by the impact the donation will have. “This gift advances our objective of growing our local history collections. Learning about local history truly brings history to life for residents. By offering a snapshot of a particular person, place, or event–in this case the Capital Centre – we can discern the extraordinary in the ordinary.”

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