Quirky Museum #32: the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum
By Jennifer Young
America is no stranger to quirky museums. There’s the Museum of Bad Art (a personal favorite) in Somerville, Massachusetts, the International Banana Museum in Mecca, California, and the Kazoo Museum of Beaufort, South Carolina. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has an unusual museum too—the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum , which owns and displays upwards of 10,000 bobbleheads. In fact, nowhere in the world can you find a more extensive collection of bobblehead figures. As the only museum of its kind, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum is easily one of Milwaukee’s most eclectic attractions.
Brad Novak and Phil Sklar established the museum in 2014, but their collection extends back to 2002 when they first began to accumulate the head-nodding figures. After determining that they had enough bobbles to be a serious contender to earn a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, the pair decided to open a museum to showcase their growing collection. After making the announcement to take their collection public, many people began to send them bobbleheads to feature in the museum.
In 2017, the founders moved their museum to its Milwaukee location on 170 South 1st Street. The museum is lined with shelves and dozens of exhibits that reflect the various periods and genres evident in the collection. The collection is especially renowned for its expansive collection of sports bobbleheads, but it also features pop culture icons, politicians, cartoon characters, and celebrities. Upon visiting this toy treasure trove, you’ll even be greeted by a six-foot-tall life-size bobblehead.
The museum owns many rare and custom bobbleheads that it displays. It also produces special custom bobbleheads for special events. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it recently produced Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx bobbleheads with proceeds from the sales going to support the 100 Million Mask Challenge . The museum often makes special bobbleheads to commemorate important local and national events.
If you’re a bobblehead enthusiast, you’ll want to visit the museum to check out some of its highlights and rarities that include:
~The Negro Leagues Centennial Bobblehead Series
~Duck Dynasty Set
~Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot
~Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
~The Golden Girls Bobbleheads
~National sports teams mascots, and more!
During a visit to the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, be sure to check out its store where you can purchase bobbleheads from its wide selection. The store features many hard-to-find athlete bobbleheads as well as cartoon and movie characters. Pricing for the figures ranges from roughly $20 for popular bobbleheads to $65 for rare figures. The store also offers a fun feature that allows customers to create a plastic head in their own image.
If a plastic head doesn’t suit, you can also contact the museum to create a bobblehead of yourself. The museum routinely creates bobbleheads for schools, businesses, teams, and a wide range of organizations from all over the country. It can produce individual bobbleheads for collectors or for retailers. If you’re looking for an unusual gift for the person who has everything—check out the museum’s custom bobblehead shop.
Check Before You Go! As of this article’s writing, the National Bobblehead Museum and Hall of Fame remained closed as a precaution against spreading COVID-19. Find updates on their Facebook page HERE.