Upon entering the National Pinball Museum you’re greeted by giant dinosaur legs. It’s, not-so-subtle, foreshadowing for the fun that is sure to ensue.
The lobby is adorned with giant pinball parts. There’s a timeline of all the different pinball companies on the wall. I was struck with the notion that the museum is the perfect addition to Baltimore’s already eclectic assortment of cultural curiosities. Welcome home Pinball Museum, welcome home.
This is, founder and curator, David Silverman’s life’s work. It’s the man cave many have dreamt of. What’s more, it pays homage to one of the most steadfast past-times in American History. I remember walking into the beach arcade for the first time when I was a kid, and that first time my parents let me go out by myself with my friends down to the boardwalk. I ran straight to the arcade and what was there waiting? The bells and whistles, the lights, the people. My senses were working overtime. Sure there would be time for girl watching. But first I needed to devise a strategy or work up the courage to actually talk to them. The plan was often hatched, while playing pinball. For you it may have happened at the local bowling alley or the skating rink but most of you know what I’m talking about.
Fast forward to a balmy January morning, 2012. So I get there and, wouldn’t you know it, I’m transported back to the summer of 85’ all over again. Pinball Nirvana. All I needed was Dire Straits Money for Nothing for a soundtrack and my trip right back to the boardwalk arcade downey oshun would have been complete. To put it simply, this place is a veritable time machine.
With over forty playable machines and two more floors set to open in time, it seems that Baltimore might just be the Pinball Capital of the World. As it should be.