Matchstick Museum Cruise

 “Cruisers tour Matchstick Museum”

By Barb Cannon

Saturday, May 4th, CCC members traveled to Gladbrook, Iowa, for lunch and to tour the Matchstick Marvels Museum.   With Mel and I leading the way, 16 people in 8 vehicles pulled out of the Lowes parking lot and headed west on US Highway 6 through Tiffin to Marengo.  At Marengo we turned north then northwest through Belle Plaine, and around Chelsea, Tama and Toledo on some nice two-lane winding roads.    We reached Gladbrook at noon and ate lunch at Spanky’s then walked up the street to the museum.

The Matchstick Marvels Museum features some amazing “sculptures” made entirely out of matchsticks. If you have internet access – go our Facebook page for more pictures.

All build by Pat Actin, artist and lifelong resident of Iowa. The museum features models of buildings such as the US Capitol and Notre Dame Cathedral and models of the USS Iowa and the Space Shuttle. 

  A special feature this spring is a 2/3 scale model of a 1970 Dodge Charger, which was the main attraction for our group. The model contains 720,000 matchsticks and took about 3,000 hours to completion in December 2018. The cars animated features include lights, sound, opening and closing engine hood and head light covers, blower motor, blower butterfly valves and rotating wheels. The partially completed computer board that activates the automated features was designed to Ripley technicians. It will be moved in June to Las Vegas Museum.

From the museum we traveled back down the road into Gladbrook to see a Freedom Rock some of us had spied on the way into town.  The rock is in a small park and is painted with an image of the Meskwaki code talkers of WWII. 


A few drivers headed back home while the rest of us headed back south to Rock Creek State Park located west of Grinnell.  We had planned to end the day with supper in Williamsburg, but most of us were still full from our lunch.  We all headed back toward Iowa City and home, but a few of us did stop at the Dairy Queen for ice cream or a quick bite.

Mel and I want to thank all who came along and made this a great trip. 

The next planned club trip is a two-day trip on the Mississippi River Cruise on the  Riverboat Twilight leaving from Le Claire, Iowa, to Dubuque July 21st and 22nd.