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How the Valley Relics Museum is illuminating the area’s history, one neon sign at a time

“It’s like my childhood in a nutshell,” said Tommy Gelinas, founder of the Valley Relics Museum, as we view an exhibition of fast food curiosities from Southern California. Between a wooden Taco Bell sign and an oil painting of Colonel Sanders, there’s a clown’s head, Jack in the Box, on which you could once invoke your driving order – at least until “the clowns may have scared a lot of kids, too, so in in the late ’70s, early’ 80s, they started blowing up Jack [in TV commercials]”

If there is a curiosity about local 20th century pop culture that has disappeared from the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, there is a good chance that some other parts of it have found a second life in this museum on Lake Balboa. Gelinas has been saving, collecting and preserving ephemerals associated with the valley for more than two decades. In 2013, he exhibited his accumulated memories for the first time in Museum of Relics in the Valley the first completed place in Chatsworth. With the growth of his 20-foot-inscription collection, he moved the museum in 2018 to his current home, a pair of spacious hangars at Van Nice Airport, full of cars, bicycles, neon, arcade cabinets and celebrity souvenirs.

Photo: Time Out / Michael Juliano
Museum of the Relics of the Valley
Photo: Time Out / Michael JulianoTommy Gelinas

For out-of-town residents and people living in the Angelenos Basin, the valley’s reputation is often unfairly reduced to a few things: warmth, adult entertainment, and the ugly-sounding Walspic. For Gelinas, however, growing up in the Valley was much more than that. These included go-karts and BMX tracks, record stores and theme restaurants, movie studios and movie star residents, hot rods and airplanes, and sparkling swimming pools along with empty ones that were turned into skate parks. But there was no temple in this story for the valley.

“I always tell people it’s not Van Gogh,” says Gelinas. “The history of the valley is a really important story, a very interesting story. But no one is really fighting for it. “

Now, however, the Valley Relics Museum is certainly like that. Unlike the post-impressionist masterpiece, the process of acquiring and certifying it is usually a little simpler. Many of the items in the museum’s collection have been donated, many times by surviving family members to celebrities and business owners. The others are saved. In these cases, there is a good chance that the museum already has postcards and photos to document the history of the item, and often Gelinas himself grabs the artifacts.

“I’ve largely kept each item in hand,” he says. “And when something is donated, it takes time and money to rent a crane and take down the crew. Anyone can take down a sign for a few hundred dollars. But everyone can just carefully remove the neon, remove the sign, transport it, store it safely, and then restore it. ”

Museum of the Relics of the Valley
Photo: Time Out / Michael Juliano
Museum of the Relics of the Valley
Photo: Time Out / Michael Juliano
Museum of the Relics of the Valley
Photo: Time Out / Michael Juliano

The museum hangar, full of illuminated signs, is easily the most visually impressive asset. You will find distinctive signs from some familiar places like So to Henry and Bob’s big boybut the neon and backlight collection is mostly a collection from the valley’s past: the western Palomino Club, mostly the extinct fast food chain Pioneer Chicken and Woodland Hills spot My Brother’s Bar-BQ (three-dimensional cow sign included).

For a long time, the Valley was viewed from above because people did not understand it

It is also where the museum deviates most from its geographical boundaries and acts as a universal tool for dying signs around the city, such as the star-studded Premiere Lanes of Santa Fe Springs or the former Tiffany Theater on the Sunset Strip and Ben Frank. When we met Gelinas this fall, we accidentally hoisted the Pig ‘N Whistle sign in Hollywood, which was suddenly dismantled the day before. Of course, Gelinas began flipping through pictures on his phone: His team he had already kept the neon letters and carefully placed them in the pickup bed.

Museum of the Relics of the Valley
Photo: Time Out / Michael Juliano
Museum of the Relics of the Valley
Photo: Time Out / Michael Juliano
Museum of the Relics of the Valley
Photo: Time Out / Michael Juliano

Beyond the business tent monument you will find rows of nostalgic souvenirs. BMX bikes from manufacturers such as Redline and Mongoose – which were produced in the valley where the sport first appeared in the 1970s – are suspended from the ceiling. There are signs and drawings from the secret aerospace factory of Lockheed Skunk Works in the Sun Valley. The still-functioning Family Fun Arcade cabinets in Granada Hills are set up for free play. There’s a cash register and belt buckles from the North Hollywood store of the cowboy and the gleaming Nudi Kon, plus its horn and Pontiac spurs. The Spicoli Volkswagen bus from Fast times in Ridgemont High is currently on annual loan, complete with its own indoor disco ball.

Like everyone is right museumthere is also a gift shop, and here Valley Relics has taken the smart step to let you literally bought a piece of nostalgia. Gelinas has acquired the rights to dozens of non-existent logos of local restaurants and shops, so you can support the non-profit organization by buying a Malibu Grand Prix F1 T-shirt against the sunset or the Licorice Pizza record. Overall, this is a pretty compelling argument that the valley has offered much more than just a sleepy suburb.

“For a long time, the Valley was viewed from above because people didn’t understand it,” says Gelinas. “But every time someone talked funny about the valley, we thought it didn’t really matter because there was so much to do.”

IN Museum of the Relics of the Valley is located at 7900 Balboa Boulevard in hangars C3 and 4 (you will find the entrance to Stagg Street). It is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 4 pm. Admission costs $ 15.



How the Valley Relics Museum is illuminating the area’s history, one neon sign at a time Source link How the Valley Relics Museum is illuminating the area’s history, one neon sign at a time

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