Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum (Place)

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Taking You Back in Time

Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum


Marvin can be quoted as saying, "Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum is known from coast to coast, like butter and toast. From headlines to bedlines, from school rooms to pool rooms, this place is like no other that can be found in the contiguous United States and other environs of the free world." I don't think I could have said it better. And if you have been to Marvin's, you would certainly agree with the above statement.

No one understands hyper-compression like Marvin Yagoda. His museum is sandwiched between halves of a shopping mall north of Detroit in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Inside he's packed dense masses of historical and modern arcade machines, sideshow wonders, fortune tellers, automatons, and curiosities. Marvin is a 60-something year old pharmacist, and Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum is a hobby that went out of control.

The museum contains items of magic, neon, antiques, posters, airplanes, robots, animation, and all sorts of odd and unusual coin operated games. The coin operated games are the main attraction, and range from the oldest gypsy fortune telling machine of the early 1900's, to the lastest video games. All the games are operational. Admission to Marvin's is FREE.

Every inch of Marvins Marvelous Mechanical Museum's 5500 square feet of floor space with 40 foot ceilings containing an array of buzzing and clattering new and vintage mechanical devices and oddities. Overhead dangle signs, animatronic dummies, over 50 airplane models gliding along a steel rail, vintage fans of all types, and classic sideshow posters. Marvin himself travels the world looking for odd coin operated devices, both new and old. Some of his machines are custom made just for him, and can not be seen in operation anywhere else. Marvin's is also listed in the World Almanac's 100 most unusual museums in the U.S.

Popular attractions at Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum are the odd array of machines. Most have a small, hand-lettered card that notes its origins. For example, The 'Drunkard's Dream' is a 1935 view of 'what a drunk sees after one too many'. A quarter satisfies your curiosity. Other popular machines are the fortune tellers, including the animatronic magic of 'The Brain', 'Ralph Bingenpurge', and 'Doctor Kill-r-watt'.

Historical coin-operated machines are some of Marvin's personal favorites. For example, there's a coin operated glass case with a medieval dungeon scene. Marvin himself confesses, 'People like love, fortune, and torture machines'. For example try sticking your hand into a hole on something called 'The Great Chopandof'. A grinning character slams a blade down, and blood spurts. Is it your own blood? Only a quarter investment and a steady hand will tell you for sure. Another of Marvin's favorites is 'Cure Your Fear of Spiders', where the patron places their hand in a cage with a spider. Then guess what happens? Oh wait, you'll have to see for yourself!

Open since 1990, Marvin has been collecting vintage coin-operated machines since 1960. He constantly adds more, packing things tighter, shifting around games and kid rides. Pause for an ice cream and a drink at the snack bar. This is a family place with a sense of humor. Notice the famous semi-naked pinup poster of Burt Reynolds from Cosmopolitan magaine, with a wooden fig leaf covering his privates. Lift up the hinged fig leaf, and flash bulbs go off with a siren, revealing a large camera hidden above.

Marvin's is also a great place for Birthday Parties. Whether you're 8 years old or 80 years old, Marvin does a great job at hosting your birthday party! Marvin also rents games and photo booths for parties at your site.

And Marvin's also has FREE WiFi web access. So while your kids are playing the games, you can take a break at the snack bar area and enjoy a beverage while surfing the Internet on your laptop via the wireless Web access.