Pinball has a long and storied history. Indeed, the origins of what has developed into modern day pinball can be traced back hundreds of years. Noting the long history of pinball, there are museums located in the United States and elsewhere around the world that celebrate pinball. One of them is located in Las Vegas and is called the Pinball Hall of Fame.
Background on the Pinball Hall of Fame
The Pinball Hall of Fame actually has had two incarnations in Las Vegas, with the current one opening on November 3, 2009. People involved with the latest Pinball Hall of Fame actually tend to refer to it as the new Pinball Hall of Fame, although it has been open now for almost a decade.
The Pinball Hall of Fame is located in Las Vegas at 1610 E. Tropicana. One on of the most commonly discussed features of the so-called “new” Pinball Hall of Fame is that it is twice as large as its predecessor. The Pinball Hall of Fame gets solid traffic when contrasted to the first version because it is located considerable closer to the ever popular Las Vega Strip.
The Pinball Hall of Fame is a standalone museum. It features pinball only throughout the entire facility pinball for 10,000 square feet. As an aside, the Pinball Hall of Fame is located directly across the street from what once was the Liberace Museum.
Purpose Behind the Pinball Hall of Fame
The Pinball Hall of Fame is the brainchild of the Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club. The members of the organization the museum as a place to house as well as display what is considered to be the world’s largest pinball collection.
What’s in the Pinball Hall of Fame
The Pinball Hall of Fame is open to the public. The Pinball Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization. The entire pinball collection at the Pinball Hall of Fame belongs to only one of the club members, a man named Tim Arnold.
The expansive collection of pinball machines at Pinball Hall of Fame ranges from machines from the 1950s up to 1990s pinball. The largest number of machines at the Pinball Hall of Fame are from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. These three decades are considered by the people behind the museum to be the heyday of pinball. Some would argue that this time period represents one of the heydays of pinball, but not the only one. Nonetheless, these three decades certainly represent a time period when pinball was quite popular throughout the United States and elsewhere around the world.
A Family Venue
The Pinball Hall of Fame is considered a completely family friendly venue. Over the past 20 years, Las Vegas itself has had an emphasis on making the city far more family friendly. All of the machines in the museum are non-violent and suitable for people of any age.
One of the unique features of this particular museum is that everything is hands-on. By this it is meant that any machine displayed in the museum can be played by a visitor. Finding this kind of hands-on availability, even at a pinball museum is very rare. All of the machines at the Pinball Hall of Fame have been fully restored to their original glory.
Visitors to have to pay to play on the machines. But, the cost is minimal and it’s all like an arcade in that regard.
Support of Nonprofit Charities
Another unique feature of the Pinball Hall of Fame is that the museum donates its revenue to nonprofit charitable organizations. The revenue generated beyond basic operating costs is donated to organizations of this nature. The primary recipient is the Salvation Army.
Arnold was the person who selected the Salvation Army as the primary focus of the donations made by the Pinball Hall of Fame. He selected the Salvation Army based on his observations that is was the organization that did the most to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Behind the Scenes at the Pinball Hall of Fame
Tim Arnold, the man who founded the Pinball Hall of Fame, manages the museum on a day-to-day basis. He is assisted by a team of volunteers for the previously referenced collectors club.
In addition to the multitude of machines displayed, and available for play, in the museum, the team at the Pinball Hall of Fame also rehabs vintage pinball machines for sale to people interested in owning them. The proceeds from this endeavor goes back to the museum.
Jessica Kane is a writer.
Feature photo: http://www.pinballmuseum.org/