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The Superman Museum

“Look, in a small town in Southern IL, it’s… giant Superman statue?…” But what about Smallville, you ask? Well, if Smallville is sooo great and truly is Superman’s hometown, why don’t they have a giant Superman statue in the middle of town or even a Superman museum? Metropolis does! In 1972, to increase tourism, the citizens of  Metropolis embraced the fact that the their town shared a name with Superman’s fictional city. So, they erected a giant statue of The Man of Steel next to the county courthouse and built a Superman museum to honor their hero’s past. The town’s newspaper is even called The Metropolis Planet. There is also the largest Dippin’ Dots, The Ice Cream of the Future, store, but that’s another story all together. The cool thing about Metropolis is that D. C. Comics is totally on board, declaring the town to be “Superman’s Hometown.” The town was even depicted in a few issues of the Superman Comics.

This weekend, June 10-13, Metropolis is holding their annual Superman Celebration. The Celebration features appearances by special guests from Superman movies and TV shows, comic book artists, and authors. This year’s guests include Smallville’s Sam Witwer (Doomsday) and Laura Vandervoort (Kara/Supergirl), comic artist Carmine Infantino, Ilya Salkind (producer of Superman I, II, and III), and Noel Neill (Lois Lane from The Adventures of Superman). Dubbed “The First Lady of Metropolis,” Neill is a frequent guest at the celebration and will be honored this year with the dedication of a Lois Lane statue, as portrayed by Neill.

Since the Superman Celebration is kicking off this weekend, I traveled down to Metropolis with Time Lady, who took some photos for this piece, to check out the Superman Museum.

The Superman Museum
Tucked next to the courthouse in downtown Metropolis, which is smaller than both Superman’s Metropolis and his fictional hometown of Smallville, The Superman Museum features an impressive collection of Superman memorabilia. I have to admit that I initially thought the museum would only feature collectibles. However, not only does the museum feature an impressive array of toys, games, clothes, and books from Superman’s long history, but it also features some cool (and creepy, in the case of, Christopher Reeves’ wigs) props and costumes from the various Superman movies and TV shows. Admission to the museum is only $5. There is also a gift shop loaded with Superman and D. C. Comics collectibles.

The Adventures of Superman Room
The first stop on the museum tour features props, costumes, and autographed photos from the 1950s television series, The Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves. Some of the phones, typewriters, and radios were also used in Dragnet.

The Lois and Clark Room
The Museum features an impressive collection of costumes from the Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman that aired in the early 1990s. The Superman costume worn by Dean Cain is on display, as well as a number of outfits worn by Teri Hatcher, who played Lois Lane (and was my #1 TV crush in the early 90s). Looking at these costumes, Hatcher is tiny.

Exhibits from the Superman Movies
Perhaps the coolest part of the museum is the long hallway featuring props and costumes from the Superman Movies with Christopher Reeve. From Brando’s creepy wigs to the kinky black boots worn by General Zod in Superman II, the museum has it all. Christopher Reeve’s flying harness is here, as well as the one worn by Helen Slater in Supergirl. Hovering overhead is an astronaut costume from Superman II, keeping a watch out for mysterious girls (or is it “curl”?) on the surface of the moon. The central piece, obviously, is the supersuit worn by Reeve, who has extremely broad shoulders.

Superman Collectibles
Throughout the museum, there are many displays of Superman action figures and toys, including an action figure prototype that was rejected for looking too much like Liberace. Since this is a toy Website, I have posted pics of a few displays that set off my inner nerd alarm. While Time Lady called me a huge dork for recognizing that the museum was trying to use Planet Hoth Playsets as the Fortress of Solitude, I know that MPB readers would also look at these and go, “Hey, that’s a Star Wars Playset!”

To check out more about the Superman Celebration in Metropolis, go to www.supermancelebration.net


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