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My Fourth of July Vacation: A ride through the Midwest during that patriotic time of year. (Jerome A. Holst © 2005)

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Signage at the front of the Superman Museum

Across the street from the statue is the Superman Museum, the worlds' largest Superman collection, which hosts a collection of merchandise and memorabilia that totally encompasses the Superman universe (website -

As you enter the building, you pass through a gift shop laden with products promoting the town of Metropolis and Superman (T-shirts, cups, umbrellas, models, comics, etc). Paying an admission price of $3.00 to an attendant behind a counter, I pushed past a silver toll gate and entered the museum portion whose glass-covered displays are reminiscent of a flea-market antique store. As you wander through the exhibits, theme music from the TV series and movies play overhead. Of course, nothing in the museum is for sale, but as you exit, the gift shop will more that satisfy your craving to own a Superman artifact.

Sixth Street Entrance to the Superman Museum 

The collections in the museum (20,000 Superman-related items) celebrate the 1950s TV series Adventures of Superman (1952-57) starring George Reeves, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993-97) starring Dean Cain, the current Warner Brothers series Smallville starring Tom Welling (2001+), as well as the earlier The Adventures of Superboy (1961) starring Johnny Rockwell and Superboy (1988-92) starring Gerald Christopher. There are also lots of memorabilia from the Superman movies (1978-87) starring Christopher Reeve.

Some of the TV and movie props in the exhibit include a balsa wood camera, bow-tie and suit used by Jimmy Olson (donated by Mark McClure) the cub reporter for The Daily Planet. The fire exit in the museum sports a poster of Marlon Brando as Jor-el in the Superman movies.

My favorite section of the museum is dedicated to Superman's cousin, Supergirl. I especially liked the tribute to actress Helen Slater who played the lead role in the film Supergirl: The Movie (1984). The harness that she used for the flying sequences is on display.

Other Superman memorabilia in the museum include a black body suit with the words "Mr. Kryptonite" across the chest, the Superman and Ultra Woman costumes worn by Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher on the Lois and Clark series, items from the 1951 film Superman and the Molemen, a sign reading "Perry White for Mayor, Making Metropolis Better," Superman Halloween costumes, timepieces, action figures, life masks (of George Reeves and Christopher Reeve), Metropolis memorabilia from 1972 to present (flags, bumper stickers, etc.), clothing, wigs, typewriters, furniture, phones, a phone booth, a 1950s poker/canasta set owned by George Reeves which he used on the set of the 1950s series, and the actual pair of glasses that George Reeves wore in his role as mild-mannered reporter, Clark Kent.

There is also a display of fictional newspaper front covers with such headlines as "Superboy Lost - Feared Dead" (Capital City); and "Lex Luthor Goes to Electric Chair" (Daily Planet).

Stand behind this attraction and become Superman

One of the interesting facts from the tour is that the Superman character was created in the 1930s by two teenagers named Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel. At the age of 17, they sold the rights to their character for $165. This transaction is considered the worst business move in the history of comics. Before Shuster and Siegel died, the DC franchise arranged to pay both of them a modest sum of money as compensation for their creation. A white umbrella trimmed with Superman illustrations given to Joe Shuster by executives at DC Comics hangs on display in the museum.

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