Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum (Place)

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Taking You Back in Time

Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum is a museum founded by Marvin Yagoda, now owned and run by his son Jeremy Yagoda.[1] Tally Hall titled their first album after this museum.

Marvin can be heard talking of the museum in the song Welcome To Tally Hall. He says: "Welcome to Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum; 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."

Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum is sandwiched between 2 halves of a shopping mall north of Detroit in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Inside are a dense mass of historical and modern arcade machines, sideshow wonders, fortune tellers, automatons, and curiosities, Marvin can be quoted as saying that the museum is a hobby that went out of control.

The museum contains items of magic, neon, antiques, posters[2], 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 latest arcade video games. All the games are operational and admission is free.

"They laughed at Henry Ford too."

Marvins Marvelous Mechanical Museum boasts 5500 square feet of floor space and 40 foot ceilings. The museum contains an array of new and vintage mechanical devices and oddities[3]. Overhead dangle signs, animatronic dummies, over 50 airplane models gliding along a steel rail, vintage fans of all types,[4] and classic sideshow posters. Marvin himself used to travel the world looking for odd coin operated devices, both new and old.[5]
Some of his machines are custom made just for him, and can not be seen in operation anywhere else.

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'; Other popular machines are the fortune tellers, including the animatronic magic of 'Ask The Brain', 'Ralph Bingenpurge', and 'Challenge Kill-R-Watt'.[6]

Historical coin-operated machines were some of Marvin's personal favorites. For example, there is 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.



Marvin had been fascinated with coin operated machines since he was a little kid[1] Marvin was a pharmacist by trade and studied at the University of Michigan.[1] after graduating in the early 60's he started collecting coin operated machines, overtaking his wife's house. In 1980 his wife, and his son, Jeremy Yagonda, went to the Tally Hall food court and said that it would be a great place for the machines to take residence for other people to enjoy.[5][7] This food court is where the band takes their name.

Tally Hall is cited as being one of the first food courts in the United States, opening in the early 80's[7] and it's where Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum first opened it's doors.[8] Tally Hall shut down in the late 80's/early 90's and Marvin's remains the sole surviving piece of the former food court.[7][9]

After Marvin's death in 2017,[10] The business remains in the hands of his family and is still open, now run and operated by his son Jeremy Yagoda.


Marvin's also host Birthday Parties and other events[11]
Marvin's is listed in the World Almanac's 100 most unusual museums in the U.S.[12][5]
The museum is home to the area's largest pinball collection[13]
The museum offers free wifi!