Gladbrook, Iowa: Matchstick Marvels Museum

Pat Acton uses his spare time to build impressively-detailed, giant models of buildings, spaceships, whatever, out of hundreds of thousands of wooden matchsticks.
319 2nd St., Gladbrook, IA
Northwest of the intersection of Hwy 96/W. 8th St. and Hwy 47, at the corner of W. 2nd and Spring Sts.
April-Nov. daily 1-5 (Call to verify)
Adults $5.00
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Visitor Tips and News About Matchstick Marvels Museum

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Matchstick battleship.

Matchstick Marvels Museum

Truly a marvel! Nearly any hobbyist will adore this place. Prepare to spend at least a half hour to an hour (or more) peering in fascination at these sculptures. The sheer number of hours spent creating these well-scaled masterpieces and the number of matchsticks used (millions!) is mind boggling. If you have an appreciation for engineering, architecture, or math...go! If you ever played with Lincoln Logs or Legos...go!

[Zoe Roberts, 07/13/2014]

Matchstick Marvel.

Matchstick Marvels Museum

Fantastic! Currently there is Minas Tirith from the Lord of the Rings, about 10 feet tall and meticulously detailed. You can even trace the path to each level. The artist displays big pieces here for a while before selling. Last year (2010) it was Hogwarts.

[Deb, 08/12/2011]

Matchstick Marvels.

Matchstick Marvels Tourist Center

Acton has created dozens of wooden models and sculptures made exclusively of ordinary wooden matchsticks. He has used millions of matchsticks and gallons of glue to create models that are highly detailed and painstakingly scaled. Also at the Center, you will see drawings and plans for many of the models, plus tools and equipment used in construction, and a video documentary of Acton's unusual hobby.

Many models have historical significance, such as large-scaled models of the USS Iowa battleship, the space shuttle Challenger, the Wright Brothers' Flyer, and the United States Capitol, which measures 12 feet long.

[Peggy Hyland, 02/24/2011]

Matchstick Marvels.

Matchstick Marvel Museum

This attraction is wonderful, and the lady who greets you is super friendly and nice! Be sure you buy some of the local mustard they sell. It is great!

[Toni Brooks, 09/22/2010]

US Capitol made from matchsticks.

Matchstick Marvels

This odd, but interesting, display features the work of matchstick sculptor (and career counselor!) Patrick Aston. Using only matchsticks, Patrick has painstakingly created detailed models of the U.S. Capitol, the space shuttle Challenger, the Iowa governor's mansion, the USS Iowa, the Wright Brother's Kitty Hawk, and much more. Literally millions of matchsticks and thousands of hours have been spent creating this work. Ripley's Believe It or Not museums have purchased several of Patrick's creations and they are on display around the world.

[Jeff Hoskinson, 05/02/2008]

Nearby Offbeat Places

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In the region:
Niland's Cafe and Colo Motel, Colo, IA - 33 mi.

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