The American Treasure Tour Museum, located near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, is one of those wonderful roadside attractions that is worth going out of the way to find if you happen to be in the area.
The exhibition (if you can call it that) is rather hard to describe, beyond being a massive collection of stuff acquired over many decades by one wealthy man. Everything from vintage cars to cartoon figures, player pianos to Christmas kitsch, all stored with little organization, in an old tire warehouse.
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to wander through the space for several hours after closing and make some images. Below are just a few, with more in this gallery. If you’re interested in even more, I also have a gallery from just the Music Room, and another featuring faces from some of the many clowns and other figures.
It’s hard to visualize the whole of this collection without actually visiting, but this image of one room gives a good example of the size and scope.
The collection contains at least one hundred player pianos and other automated music devices. Like this one from the turn of the 20th century that performs a violin duet (the second violin is above this one in the cabinet), powered by hydraulics. More images are in the Music Room gallery.
Mixed in with the hundreds, maybe thousands, of character figures are many variations on Ronald McDonald. Including this one with a very mellow, slightly stoned expression. More images like this are in the faces gallery.
Among the hundred or more vehicles in the collection were two Vespas, basic two-seater automobiles introduced in the 1950’s by the Italian company that still makes scooters under the same name.
While anyone can take the basic tour of the museum, you also have the same opportunity to photograph the collection up close as I did. Photographer Matthew Christopher leads a workshop in the warehouse four times a year, with the next openings coming in September and December. Check out his Abandoned America site for details and to register.