Gladbrook, Iowa: Matchstick Marvels MuseumPat Acton uses his spare time to build impressively-detailed, giant models of buildings, spaceships, whatever, out of hundreds of thousands of wooden matchsticks.
Visitor Tips and News About 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]
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]
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]
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]
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]