H: It was time to leave Tennessee behind and head onward to Metropolis, IL where we would visit the Super Museum along with a Museum dedicated to all things movies.
The Super Museum was started by Jim Hambrick and is filled with over 20,000 items, along with a gift shop that you pass through before entering the museum. The owners has been collecting Superman items since 1959 and has amassed a collection of over 100,000 items.
Metropolis itself isn’t a large town, but the Superman Museum is definitely hard to miss should you get turned around – just look for the giant Superman statue and brightly colored building.
J: The enormous statue of Superman is not to be missed. It makes for the perfect photo opportunity! There are other statues riddled around the town, 2 different Lois Lanes for sure, and outside of the museum itself are some classic wooden cutouts of Superman and Supergirl with the faces cut out to add your own. We, of course, indulged before we made our way into the museum itself.
Upon first glance, if you didn’t know the museum was there, you might think it was simply a comic book memorabilia and gift shop devoted primarily to the DC universe. The door to the museum is actually behind the counter as it costs a meager $5 admission. The admission also serves as admission to the other museum Heather mentioned.
H: As far as gift shops go, there were some pretty fun items and not just Superman related – you could find a lot of other items based around other comic characters as well. We browsed quickly, but then headed toward the back and after handing over our money, we were ushered into the back area where we were greeted with more Superman items than I expected – I mean I knew there would be a lot, but wow. It’s almost overwhelming just how much there is to look at.
J: Even I, as a comic book enthusiast was overwhelmed with the sheer amount of stuff they had that goes way, way back to the old serials of the 30’s. Original costumes worn by the actors (the suit used in the black and white serials was actually yellow and brown for filming), set pieces, props and photos, they didn’t stop! And they went from the very beginnings of Superman’s film career up through the most recent installment, Superman Returns. And that’s nothing compared to the Superman merchandise!
H: The old costumes, props, and harnesses used for flying scenes were certainly some of the highlights, but the vast majority of items were in the form of merchandise, as Josh mentioned. The museum was set up sort of the way you might see a flea market or antique store set up with “booths” housing various items ranging from cups and watches and board games to action figures (of course) and artwork. Most of the costumes and things seem to go in chronological order and are spread out, mixed within the cases and shelves of toys and random merchandise. Once you get to the end you will stumble upon a Supergirl section and a Lois and Clark section (from the TV show), and then you can make your way back into the gift shop.
J: It’s a pretty impressive array of things, some of which are standard merchandising fare like cups and toys, action figures, lunchboxes, costumes, but the joy for me was really seeing some of the outlandishly obscure things that Superman and company’s faces appeared on. None of which I can remember at the moment.
Exiting through the gift shop once more, we headed to what was going to be our second destination; The Americana Hollywood Museum. We would love to tell you all about the place with one minor issue: We couldn’t get in. The open sign was lit, taunting us mercilessly as we tried in vain to open the locked door or make it through the chained gate. Phone calls went unanswered, knocks unheeded, and our woes were paralleled by that of the poor Comcast guy who was probably there for a legitimate reason and also couldn’t get a hold of anyone. We tried to kill some time between hitting redial to enjoy some Sonic for lunch but after an hour of killing time we left Metropolis behind with a little extra time on our hands.
H: And so we drove on and kept our eyes peeled for anything interesting as we made our way toward Missouri, and as luck would have it, we found the perfect way to spend our extra time… next up on Random Trippers: Old cars and small town gangsters.