Date: 20th November, 2013

They've been looking for a new, larger home to display their expansive collection of pinball machines for several years, but the Pacific Pinball Museum has taken a major step towards acquiring their long-sought new premises.

The prospective new home for the Museum is the Carnegie Library building in downtown Alameda - directly opposite City Hall, and in the same city as the Museum's current home.

Carnegie Library in Alameda
Carnegie Library in Alameda
(picture by Google Maps)

The library was one of nearly 1,700 built across the US thanks to the altruism of Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish-born steel magnate who built up his empire from nothing to become, by the year 1901, the world's richest man.

He funded the building of a huge number of public libraries as a means to both educate and change the attitudes of the American public, and to become the focus of the community in each city.

The Carnegie Library on Santa Clara Avenue in Alameda was completed in 1902 and opened in 1903 as one of the first three Carnegie Libraries in California, but it closed to the public in 1998 when the library facilities were transferred to a new home. It has remained vacant since then.

Earlier this week, the Pacific Pinball Museum signed a Letter of Intent with the City of Alameda which marks the run-up of a two year period during which the Museum needs to raise $4 million to complete the restoration started by the City, - including re-wiring and installing new plumbing and sewers - to bring the building up to modern standards of accessibility and safety, and turn it into their new home.

With the funding for the work secured, the Museum would be able to sign a 30-year lease on the building at a nominal rent of $1 a year.

The Library would provide approximately three times the space of the current Museum location on Webster Street, where around 100 machines are presently set up.

Not surprisingly, the Museum staff are excited by the prospect of moving into the Carnegie Library, a building they feel will be a fitting home. The Chairman of the Museum's board, Larry Zartarian said, "It is extremely important to our mission that we occupy a building of historical significance. The 1902 Carnegie Library is a testament to American education and an ideal location for the PPM to educate visitors about art, science and history as related to pinball and its uniquely American heritage."

The City of Alameda is also backing their plans.  "The PPM has been bringing people to Alameda for over 10 years and has established itself as a stable and imaginative nonprofit." said City Manager, John Russo. "The prospect of having a pinball museum at the Carnegie is exciting, and the City of Alameda looks forward to taking the next steps with PPM to make our common vision a reality."

The PPM already has plans to raise the $4 million. They will be selling a number of duplicates from their collection of nearly one thousand machines, will be holding a number of fund-raising events, and are exploring both corporate and personal sponsorship opportunities. In addition, they are examing the possibilty of either public or private grants being available.

Pinball News will bring you news of the Museum's progress and details of ways you can get involved in helping to make the Pacific Pinball Museum the "Smithsonian of pinball".

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