Honestly, my kids and I had no idea what to expect at this “Museum of Pop Culture” located right across the street from Camden Yards, but I am so glad we didn’t miss it. I am not sure my kids got as much out of it as I did but it was still a fun adventure for all involved (not to mention a great excuse to get into an air-conditioned building on a sweltering day). The best part was that my kids got to know a side of me they’d never seen or heard before making the whole experience deeply personal.
The story goes that Stephen A. Geppi back in his early 20’s was a mail carrier whose mother while cleaning out their house threw out his (priceless) comic book collection that he had since he was a kid. In order to rebuild his collection he would ask folks on his route if the had any comics they would sell or trade. Eventually he started to make more money buying and selling comic books so he quit the post office and opened his own store called Diamond Comics Distributors. He was wildly successful and decided to open a museum dedicated to the preservation of American pop culture.
If you are into comic books, I can only imagine their comic book gallery is the equivalent of nirvana. It seemed utterly cool, though I really could not appreciate it because I don’t know my Captain Marvel from my Green Lantern when it comes to comics. The rest of the galleries are separated by decade and they are totally awesome. The stuff from the twenties to the 60’s was cool, but once we hit the 70’s 80’s and 90’s it was a total trip down memory lane. OMG, I can’t tell you how many weird memories came flooding back from my childhood (good and bad by the way) walking through there. It was almost like experiencing a time machine.
I saw so many toys that I remember as a kid, even prizes from McDonald’s happy meals that I played with. The Alice in Wonderland tea set brought me back to age 7 sitting in my room having a tea party with my dolls. It was so weird because I found myself remembering the summer wind through my open window, going to bed before the sun set on those long summer days and the sounds of tv set that my parents were watching. The old lunchbox reminded me of elementary school days, lunches my mother packed sometimes with a special treat-a Ding Dong or a Hostess Cupcake. It was an overwhelming and emotional experience to say the least. Each gallery brought back a flood of memories from different periods in my life. And it was strange and wonderful to share such vivid memories with my kids, little nuggets of detailed and deeply personal moments that had been long banished to the furthest recesses of my mind.
In my entire life I don’t think I have ever experienced a museum like this. I hope Mr. Geppi doesn’t stop collecting so that generations to come can experience the glory of reliving the precious moments of their youth and sharing things long forgotten with their own children. DO NOT MISS this weird and wonderful museum that will transport you to places and memories long forgotten.