The history of the bobblehead goes back for centuries. The first “head-nodding figures” were believed to be crafted in China back in the late 1700’s, although it wasn’t until 1960 that the first player-specific sports bobbleheads were created. Those first baseball bobbleheads - of players Roberto Clemente, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Willie Mays - all had their correct uniforms but were manufactured with the same face.
Bobbleheads have come a long way since then and have become some of the most sought after giveaways at sporting events, namely baseball games. In fact, the most popular giveaways every season at Miller Park in Milwaukee are generally when a fan can receive a free bobblehead with their ticket to the game.
We all know someone who collects bobbleheads. Maybe they have a display in their basement, or maybe their bobbles line the desk in their office. Thanks to bobblehead connoisseur Phil Sklar, the world’s largest collection of bobbleheads will be on display in the city of Milwaukee at the soon-to-open National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum for all to marvel at and enjoy.
The physical museum has been three years in the making since it was first announced in 2015. Once it is opened, it will feature dozens of exhibits about bobbleheads, their history, and how they are made. Not only that, but you will be able to order and purchase your own custom bobbleheads, or choose from the multitude of options that are obtainable at the store on site. Memberships are also available for those who want to support the museum and receive a limited-edition “Founding Member” bobble.
For Brewers fans, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum should hold particular appeal. Not only will you be able to find past bobbleheads that the team has given away, but the museum has partnered with bobblehead manufacturer FOCO to create an exclusive line of Milwaukee-themed bobbleheads. They include the first-ever manufacturing of bobbles featuring Eric Thames, Lorenzo Cain, and Christian Yelich in their Brewers’ uniforms, mini-bobbleheads of Hall of Famers Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, and Rollie Fingers, and the first triplebobble ever to feature three popular Milwaukee mascots - Bernie Brewer, Barrelman, and Hank the Dog - on the same base. In keeping with this week’s matchup with Milwaukee’s divisional foes down in Chicago, there’s also the I-94 Rivalry Bobbleheads - one featuring Barrelman and Clark and the other with Bernie Brewers and TC Bear.
Of course, the museum caters to more than just the baseball fan. There are bobbles from soccer, basketball, football, and other sports featured in the collection, as well as bobbles from ad campaigns like Progressive’s Flo and TV shows and movies like The Big Bang Theory and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The physical location of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum will be at 170 S. 1st St. in Milwaukee, WI. That’s not even a 10-minute drive from Miller Park. The target for its grand opening is just a few short weeks away in September of 2018. The site will have a bobblehead-themed restaurant in addition to the store and will host events like autograph signings, mascot appearances, and special giveaways.
You can learn more about the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum and also sign up for a membership, peruse their store, or even donate your own bobbleheads to their collection by visiting their website.