Date: 2nd July, 2021

The future of the Museum of Pinball in Banning, California is in doubt as the management team face a race against time to find a new home for the collection of more than 2,200 pinball and video games.

The Museum of Pinball in Banning
The Museum of Pinball in Banning

The Museum has been based on an 18-acre site in Banning, west of Palm Springs since it launched seven years ago. It has hosted numerous pinball shows, become the home of the It Never Drains In Southern California (INDISC) tournament, and is home of the Walter Day Trading Card Museum.

Some of the hundreds of pinballs at the Museum
Some of the hundreds of pinballs at the Museum
The Museum is also home of the Walter Day Trading Card collection
The Museum is also home of the Walter Day Trading Card collection

Although the Museum is housed in a voluminous 44,000 sq. ft. building, it is too small to contain the Museum’s entire collection of games. There are currently around 500 pinballs and 700 video games set up, including many rare titles and complete product ranges from several manufacturers, but another 1,000 machines remain in storage due to lack of space.

More of the Museum's collection
More of the Museum’s collection

To expand the number of machines available to visitors and locate the collection nearer to a major population centre, earlier this year Museum of Pinball owner John Weeks revealed plans to move the Museum to the newly-restored former Desert Sun newspaper building in Palm Springs.

The move to the 77,000 sq. ft. building would allow the Museum to open to the public seven-days-a-week rather than just for a few select weekends for special events such as Arcade Expo, Pinball Madness, INDISC, Arcade Pinvasion and Funhouse Maze. It would also allow full-time technicians to be employed to maintain the expanded collection, while the building is very close to Palm Springs airport making it far more accessible than Banning for out-of-town visitors.

The Funhouse on the 18-acre site
The Funhouse on the 18-acre site

John’s company owns the site in Banning which includes an additional three buildings, but it appears he signed an agreement to lease the Museum’s current building to a marijuana-growing company with effect from October 2021.

However, the funds required and time needed to prepare the Desert Sun building in Palm Springs appear to be far greater than initially anticipated, meaning the move cannot happen by October, leaving Museum’s collection homeless in just over two months unless either additional funds are offered by a sponsor or alternative accommodation can be found.

The race is on to find a solution which will maintain the collection, either on display at an alternative location or in storage until a better solution could be found. In the worst case, the entire collection could also be sold.

Can the Museum's collection be saved for future generations to enjoy?
Can the Museum’s collection be saved for future generations to enjoy?

Pinball News has visited and reported from the Museum of Pinball several times. The collection of pinballs and videos is a sight to behold, so we sincerely hope a solution can be found which will allow more visitors to experience a collection like nowhere else in the world.

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