Gladbrook, Iowa: Matchstick Marvels Museum Team Field Report

319 2nd St., Gladbrook, IA
From Hwy 96/W. 8th St. in town, turn north onto Gould St. Drive north six blocks. You'll see the museum on the left, on the northwest corner of Gould and 2nd Sts.
April-Nov. daily 1-5, off-season by appt. (Call to verify)
Adults $5.00
RA Rates:
Major Fun
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Matchstick Marvels Museum.

Matchstick Marvels Museum
Pat Acton builds impressively-detailed, giant models of buildings, spaceships, whatever, out of hundreds of thousands of wooden matchsticks. Report... [01/10/2016]

Visitor Tips and News About Matchstick Marvels Museum

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Notre Dame Cathedral in matchsticks.

Matchstick Marvels Museum

The fire that gutted Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019 has led to unintended consequences half a world away, boosting interest in a museum in the farm town of Gladbrook, Iowa. According to local news reports, "tons of people" have called the Matchstick Marvels Museum wanting to see its Notre Dame Cathedral replica. The obsessively detailed mega-miniature was built by local resident Pat Acton, and completed in time for Easter 2012. It took him 20 months to glue together nearly 300,000 wood matchsticks into what may be the best version of Notre Dame that tourists can see until the real one reopens in 2025.

[ Team, 04/21/2019]

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]

Nearby Offbeat Places

World's Second Largest Collection of Salt and Pepper ShakersWorld's Second Largest Collection of Salt and Pepper Shakers, Traer, IA - 13 mi.
The Big TreehouseThe Big Treehouse, Marshalltown, IA - 14 mi.
Butter Cow StatueButter Cow Statue, Toledo, IA - 15 mi.
In the region:
World's First Tractor, Charles City, IA - 60 mi.

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