Now in its second year, the Milwaukee-based National Bobblehead Hall of Fame & Museum continues to grow and expand – and has two special exhibits planned for this year.
For instance, there will be a presidential exhibit that coincides with the 2020 Democratic National Convention set for July 13-16 in Milwaukee.
Next, from late-summer through the end of the year, there will be a special exhibit for the Negro Leagues, with more than 200 original Negro Leagues-related paintings and other artifacts, plus bobbleheads.
“We’re focused on planning and executing the two special exhibits and making sure potential visitors are aware of the museum,” said Phil Sklar, co-founder and CEO of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, which encompasses 4,000 square feet and houses about 6,500 unique bobbleheads.
Yep, that’s a lot of bobbling in Milwaukee. Just consider:
· Most Popular: “The set of Beatles bobbleheads from 1964 and the earliest sports bobbleheads from the 1960s,” Sklar said.
· Oldest: “(They) date back to around the turn of the century,” Sklar said.
· Most Valuable: “We have what is believed to be a mold used to produce the bobbleheads from the 1960s and is the only known one in existence. Another one that is quite valuable is the black San Francisco 49ers player from the 1960s,” Sklar said.
· Most Unique: “The life-sized bobblehead of our mascot and Mr. Hankey from South Park are probably the two most unique.”
· Most Sought-After: “We’re looking to add more of the vintage basketball and hockey bobbleheads, the Supreme Court justices and a few of the over-sized bobbleheads from the 1960s to the collection,” Sklar said.
The Museum has one full-time and two part-time employees, plus another who helps with special projects and handiwork. “We have a third-party fulfillment center that does all our shipping and a large team of people that produces the bobbleheads that we order,” Sklar said.
The museum attracted visitors in year one from all 50 states and more than 25 countries.
“Things are usually the quietest early in the day when we first open and later in the day closer to when we close. We’re open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends,” Sklar said.
“One weekday afternoon a few months after we opened, someone came upstairs and told our front-desk employee that Macaulay Culkin was downstairs and they were hoping he could come up and take a few pictures and videos of him pointing at things. We overheard the conversation from the ‘Bobble Headquarters,’ which is close to the entrance, and thought ‘Is this a joke?’
“Within a few minutes, we were giving him an overview of the museum. ‘Home Alone’ is one of my favorite movies, so much so that we had a series of ‘Home Alone’ bobbleheads produced, so to have ‘Kevin’ visit was surreal. He was extremely friendly and interested in the museum, and we took some pictures and gave him the ‘Home Alone’ bobbleheads that he didn’t have. We did forget to have him sign the guest book, though.”
Sklar added: “Another (memory) was a girl who had watched a feature on the museum through her school’s news program. She was so excited to meet me and the other co-founder.”
The museum received a donation from Bobblehead Bob Manak—as Sklar labeled him—who donated his collection of around 1,500 unique bobbleheads to the museum when he had terminal cancer.
“We have an exhibit related to people who have contributed bobbleheads to the collection and showing that off to his family was very touching,” Sklar said.
“Visitors of all ages have a fun experience, even if they’re not a bobblehead collector. There are so many different types of bobbleheads, including a lot of non-sports bobbleheads.”