A museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, holds a huge collection of bobbleheads—featuring rows of constantly nodding figures of athletes, mascots, celebrities, animals, cartoon characters, politicians, and more. And when the folks at Guinness Book of World Records finish counting, it may officially be the world’s largest.
The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum opened February 1. The museum is the brainchild of friends Phil Sklar and Brad Novak, who started collecting the figures 16 years ago. The two decided on a museum and bobblehead-creating business about four years ago, after quitting their corporate finance (Sklar) and retail sales (Novak) jobs. Sklar says he enjoys “seeing the reaction people get when they see the bobbleheads.”
Sklar and Novak have collected more than 10,000 bobbleheads—including a life-size bobblehead, bobbleheads of characters from The Wizard of Oz and the Star Wars franchise, and the first football and baseball bobbleheads from the early 1960s. They even have one of Donald Trump from the TV show The Apprentice that says "You're fired" at the push of a button. About 6,500 will be on display at a time. Some will rotate as part of special exhibits—for example, if a certain sports team is in town.
The bobblehead museum isn’t just about bobbing heads. The enterprise includes history (did you know bobbleheads are documented as far back as the 1760’s?) and good ol’ commerce (create your own bobblehead).
The Guinness Book of World Records is certifying the collection. The current record is 2,396 bobbleheads, held by Phil Darling, of Ontario, Canada, although he says he’s acquired 500 more since that 2015 certification. Darling says he’ll be disappointed not to hold the record but hopes to one day visit the museum and meet Sklar and Novak, saying, "It's on my bucket list.”
(National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum founders Brad Novak, left, and Phil Sklar, stand near the museum entrance. AP Photo/Carrie Antlfinger)