Last weekend was Collegetown Night at the O’s! And the weather was so nice, we wanted to make a whole night out of it. So we headed out early to venture to Geppi’s Entertainment Museum that is located right next door to Camden Yards. This museum is touted as a pop-culture museum, featuring everything media and “fun” related from decades back. It was a great museum for a pre-game warm-up, but after our tour, we knew that if we had come for the museum exclusively, it would not have been as satisfying.
The museum is located on the second floor of the Camden Station building, right above the Sports Legend Museum. As you make your way up the stairs, you are instantly prepared for what lies ahead as the walls are covered in old-time and modern movie posters and comic strips. The museum lobby is dark (a common theme we could have used less of) but the attendants were there to instantly greet us and tell us about the lay-out of the museum, and the interactive scavenger hunt that you can participate in as you walk through the museum. (This involves placing a little card under a computer reader and answering some trivia questions. You get a prize at the end, but it’s just a little something to count as a souvenir.) The great thing about going on a game day, was that ticket prices were just $1. This is true for all Ravens and Orioles games – a definite bonus for an attendee with a college student budget.
We had intentionally traveled to Geppi’s to see the featured “Barbie: Celebrating 50 Years” exhibit. We started out of order to make sure we had time to see this exhibit first, since the museum closes at 6 on game days. (They suggest going through the museum in chronological order, which is how the displays are set-up.) While there were some cool old-school Barbies from the 50’s, we were kind of disappointed with the “featured” exhibit. Sure, there were lots of cool Barbies to look at, but they were all “Collector’s Editions”, and no more than 5 were from any decade before the 1990’s. Our group consisted of individuals who had owned an original Barbie and clothes for the doll from the 50’s and 60’s. Needless to say, they were disappointed that we saw more things we recognized from the Barbie of our childhood than theirs.
We then proceeded to go through the rest of the museum. As you enter each room of the museum, a voice overhead tells you the details about the era you are walking in to. The first two rooms looked at newspapers, and the advertisements and toys that came with early American print-media. This was probably the most historical aspect of the museum, where we were actually more inclined to read about the significance of the comics and toys then to just stare in amusement and awe at all the “cool old toys and games.”
The rest of the museum was filled with old games, toys, and an entire room full of old comics. It was really interesting to see the kinds of toys and games our parents had played with when they were younger, and to see what the original characters we know and love now looked like when they were born. (Both Mickey and Donald look totally different today than they did 30 years ago. Plus, make sure you check out the Snap, Crackle, Pop guys from Rice Krispies – you’ll find something strange about the originals.) Though we have to say there was a heavier presence of “boy” toys than “girl” toys, we were still really excited to see all the old stuff. Plus, you can even find some of the toys you played with as a child yourself. (We got a little nostalgic when we found a Shrinky-Dinks set – ahh those were the days!)
And while we enjoyed looking at all of the cool old school pop culture stuff, we did have a few complaints. One, the entire museum was poorly lit. Now we know they probably have to keep the lights low to preserve the artifacts, but it was so dark that it was hard to read the captions and find out what everything even was. Also, the walls are covered in movie posters and other fun things – but they are piled way too high. We had to crane our necks back to try and see the stuff on the walls, and even then we felt like we were missing stuff. And we’d have to say that if we had paid the full price ($10) we would have been disappointed. There just wasn’t as much stuff as we thought there was going to be – and since most of the items were things we had never heard of, without being able to read the captions we were left guessing and skipping over some of the items.
But, overall, we’d recommend checking out this museum if you’re already going to a ball game. You can get in for cheap, check out some cool toys, and then head over to the ball game for a bite to eat before warm-ups. (Plus, if you go right before game time, you’ll see less of a crowd as everyone is making their way to the stadium.) We enjoyed out pre-game stroll through Geppi’s and we think you will too. So if you’re on your way over to cheer on the O’s and down some hot dogs, make sure you stop in to see some cool old toys and games for only a buck. If you’re not a baseball fan, or can’t make it out on a game day, then we’d skip this attraction for now, and check out some other Baltimore hotspots first.