Date: 8th June, 2011


After investing $300,000 and six months work building his dream, David Silverman's National Pinball Museum is to close next month after the owners of its shopping mall home pulled the plug.

The museum opened on December 4th 2010 as the culmination of many years of planning, collecting, restoring and raising funds. Located in the Shops at Georgetown Park, a large mall in Georgetown, Washington DC, the unit was previously occupied by toy store FAO Schwarz, and much of the cost of establishing the museum came from building work needed to renovate the unit.  In addition, the premises needed new wiring, new carpets and permits to operate which all added to the cost, as did the computers and equipment for the educational programmes the museum would run.

Enter between the giant flippers
Enter between the giant flippers

In return for renovating its premises and opening the interactive museum, Silverman got a two-year rent-free deal.  However, one clause in the lease allowed the mall's owners, Vornado Realty Trust, the option to terminate the agreement with 60 days notice.  David had contacted the company to try to negotiate an extension to the two-year deal.  Instead, on 18th May, he got a letter giving him 60 days to vacate the unit.

"At that point, I was just dumbstruck," he said. "I just couldn't believe it."  Despite contacting the company to try to get more time or to get them to reverse their decision, he has not received a reply.

The National Pinball Museum was possibly the most educational of all the pinball museums established around the world, having dedicated facilities to teach the history and mechanics of pinball, as well as a range of featured exhibits and a pinball movie theatre.

Now however, David and the museum's volunteer staff have until July 18th to move out.  No alternative home has yet been announced, although the search for one is continuing.

The current location will remain open through the 4th July holiday and until the doors close the price of entry has been cut from $13.50 to just $3.50 to get as many visitors through the doors as possible.

News of the museum's closure has attracted media attention far and wide, from Seattle to Toledo, from San Diego to London.

You can view some great pictures taken at the museum by Bernie Kelm - including those used in this article - at Bernie's website:


The opening of a new skate park in New Zealand isn't something we'd normally cover here at Pinball News, but the fact we're mentioning it now must mean there's a pinball angle.  And true enough, the new attraction is called Mountain Dew Skate Pinball.

The new skatepark
The new skate park

Created in a film studio in Henderson, Auckland, the park opened on 4th June 2011 with a skate competition, following four weeks of building, painting, wiring and testing.  It includes tunnels, ramps, bumpers, flippers, a plunger and lit inserts in the floor.

On the rear wall of the course is a giant backboard and dot matrix display which shows animations, scores and times as players complete the various features.

The park was created to promote a new range of flavours from the PepsiCo owned brand Mountain Dew, but is only open for three weeks.  So anyone wanting to check it out should get down to 2 Hickory Lane in Henderson before the 25th June.

There's a full journal of the park's creation, including videos of its construction, the team behind it and the course's various features on the Skate Pinball website.


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