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Meanwhile, at the Super Villain Museum.

American Super Heroes Museum to Open

"Everybody always asks, 'Why? Why did you do this?' There really is no why."

Dane Nash may not be able to explain his passion for collecting, but in mid-March 2007 he will at least be able show off what he has squirreled away over the past 40+ years. That's when the American Super Heroes Museum opens in downtown Indianapolis, a museum based entirely on Dane's private collection of Superman and Batman memorabilia. Dane will be its sole employee.

"I wanted to build a museum and put all my stuff in it," says Dane. "I mean, I spent my life collecting this stuff. My collection's so large that even I haven't seen it in over 20 years."

Neither Superman nor Batman are in any way connected with the state capital of Indiana. (Unlike the Superman Museum, which is at least nominally linked to Metropolis, Illinois.) Dane has put his museum in Indianapolis because he lives there.

Dane Nash is no stereotypical geek. He is a 50-something father and grandfather, who retired last year after 27 years in the property insurance business. He chose a 100-year-old downtown building that he has restored to 1930s splendor, complete with hardwood floors and fake marble pillars. "My kids all understand it," he says, even though he concedes that none of them share his obsession. "My ex, she doesn't like anything that I do."

Dane estimates that the museum will be 2/3 Superman (Dane's primary super passion). Among the exhibits of which he's most proud are a rare black-and-white Superman costume, as well as the Clark Kent shirt and tie worn by George Reeves in that 1950s TV series. He also has an "exact screen replica" of the 1989 Batmobile and the 1966 Batboat, neither of whose originals are currently available. "The two 1989 screen batmobiles are in a warehouse in England and you can't get your hands on those," he says. The original Batboat is in private hands and is "pretty much messed up."

Dane, who defines himself simply as "a collector," has amassed material from his other obsessions as well. He claims that he and Indianapolis are already discussing a second museum, "But we gotta finish this one first."

As with all museums that leap from a personal passion, Dane Nash's American Super Heroes Museum is as much about Dane Nash as it is about anything else. It will be greatly enhanced by his presence, and he vows to be there all of the time. "Monday through Saturday from 10 to 9, Sunday from 10 to 6," he says. " Looking forward to it. Absolutely." Even if no one shows up, he says, "I could just look at my stuff and be happy."

[January 2008: After less than ten months in operation, American Super Heroes Museum closed for good on December 31.]

CLOSED January 2008 forever.

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