One thing I love to do on this site is cover places that I visit. There are so many attractions in and around my area that spotlight many unique forms of creativity that it would be a shame if anyone missed them. So if you are ever in Michigan be sure to visit Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum.
If you’re not planning to be in this State anytime soon, then this post is for you!
31005 Orchard Lake Rd., Farmington Hills, MI
What can one say about this place? It’s weird. Weird but wonderful at the same time! And as the first exhibit (pictured below) will show, it draws its inspiration from some pretty solid places:
Fine Inspiration Indeed!
Marvin Yagoda, the museum’s founder, had been collecting the items that populate the 5,500-square foot building for some 50 years. He was a recognized expert in the field of mechanical and electrical game apparatus and was involved in the appraisal of such items for the television series American Pickers. We lost Marvin on January 8, 2017 at the age of 78.
But the eclectic showroom he started so long ago still operates and is open to the public seven days a week.
Let’s have a look at just some of the oddities you can expect to find:
Instant Physical Exam for just 75 cents
You will find a huge collection of coin-operated animatronic dummies, mechanical games and other oddities here. The doctor above is just one of dozens of examples on display. If you plan on investing your money on this doctor’s diagnosis, prepare to be insulted!
Where to look first?
Walking in for the first time can be overwhelming! There isn’t a bare piece of wall or ceiling in the place.
“Vibratory Doctor”? Is that even legal?
Many of these vintage machines would have been on boardwalks or in sideshows, at a circus or freak show. I wonder why?
There are several examples of neon signage as well, with my favorite example being displayed above.
Marvin was an equal opportunity collector and so also added vintage advertising to his collection.
This museum is definitely a Home of the Weird as the above image shows. A 3-breasted Gypsy, anyone?
The Lighter Side
The museum also has many pieces to make you smile too. Such as the two Sailor Puppets above.
Hungry or Thirsty?
We are about half way through our tour, so if you’re getting a bit peckish, why not stop at the food stand and ask Humpty Dumpty for something to eat or drink?
Your Weird Hosts for This Post
What would a fun place be without a warped mirror?
On the Road
I need to get me a truck like this when I go searching for things to add to my weird and wonderful collection!
Now all good things come with a price:
There is no charge to visit this museum but, as you can see above, donations to cover the cost of electricity are gratefully received! Also, almost all of the displays are fully operational and can be enjoyed for between 25 and 75 cents a play. This includes vintage arcade games (like Asteroids and Pac-Man), carnival games, pinball machines, and ‘Peep Shows’ (clean, of course!).
So please be sure to leave some of your hard-earned money behind!
COOL FACTOR: 5/5
I was thrilled to find such a unique and strange place among the attractions of Michigan! It won’t be for everyone, especially if you’re easily creeped out. But if you’re a student of history and a fan of early examples of coin-operated art and like to walk on the wild side at times… make your way to Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum!