The American Classic Arcade Museum, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit corporation registered with the State of New Hampshire, has been established to promote and preserve the history of coin-operated arcade games. The museum will cover the industry from its pre-electricity inception in the early 20th century through the Penny Arcades we all enjoyed as children and into the economic crash of the arcade industry in the late 1980’s, an era that predates the existence of so called “violent” games.
The arcade industry has a colorful and lively history that is not being preserved for future generations. Many manufacturers such as Mike Munves, Chicago Coin, Chester Pollard, Genco, Gretchen, Photar, Centuri, Taito, Nichibutsu, Midway, Irem, Gottlieb, Atari, Exidy and many more are no longer in the coin operated game business. Their history and the games they produced are fading away and need a place where that legacy can be remembered and preserved.
Some notable facts from arcade history include David Gottlieb’s invention of the pinball machine in 1931. His game, Baffle Ball, was a huge hit at the time. In January of 1942, New York Mayor, Fiorello LaGuardia, confiscated 2,325 pinball machines and had them destroyed saying they were gambling devices. His photo, sledgehammer in hand, has appeared in many publications over the years. LaGuardia donated the metal from these destroyed machines to the military to help with the war against the Nazis.
The directors of this organization have a combined experience of over 100 years in the arcade industry. Their experience is the driving force behind the organization and gives it the knowledge base to make it a success. There is no such museum in existence at this time that covers the history of coin-operated arcade machines.
The goals of the organization will be accomplished through the creation of a museum that will house this collection and other donated antique and classic coin-operated machines all of which will be available for play. Any income taken in from the games will go to offset the operating expenses of the museum such as water, electricity, spare parts, a Curator and other related costs.
The museum will also include written, audio, video and electronic data containing the history of coin-operated games and the people who created them.
One of the major goals of the organization will be keeping alive the history of coin-operated arcade games. This will be accomplished through educational displays, cut-away models of games, vintage publications, antique catalogs and guest lectures given by prominent figures in arcade history. The organization presently has a large collection of vintage advertising materials and catalogs from the post WWII era that will also be displayed.
The American Classic Arcade Museum will be a one of a kind facility that will keep this part of American history alive for those that experienced it and for those who were too young to remember.