C-3POMG (Photo: Jiuguang Wang on Flickr)
No matter your profession or area of interest, recognition is important. It’s no wonder then that people will start up a “Hall of Fame” for just about anything: Forget sports halls of fame, these are all about the barbers, the burlesque dancers, and the pinball machines. Let’s explore six hallowed halls that celebrate things that most people didn’t know needed honoring.
1. ROBOT HALL OF FAME
Metropolis FTW. (Photo: Jiuguang Wang on Flickr)
Located in the Carnegie Science Center, the Robot Hall of Fame honors mechanical life both real and fictional. Each year a number of new robots are added to the honor roll, and some are put on display in the Carnegie Exhibit. Past inductees include WALL-E, Robbie the Robot, and the Roomba.
Gort. Best robot name ever? (Photo: Jiuguang Wang on Flickr)
2. BURLESQUE HALL OF FAME
Las Vegas, Nevada
Exquisite form indeed. (Photo: Robert Kimberley on Flickr)
Many people confuse burlesque with the kind of entertainment offered in so-called gentlemen’s clubs all over the world, and while there are some thematic similarities, the art and history of burlesque are much richer. Las Vegas’ Burlesque Hall of Fame celebrates the art of the tease and the stars of the form who go too often unsung. The museum holds thousands of costumes, photos, and props from all across the history of burlesque. Plus, the names alone warrant attention—past honorees include Chesty Morgan and Candy Barr.
A museum as diverse as it is undressed. (Photo: Property of the Burlesque Hall of Fame)
3. THE NATIONAL BARBER MUSEUM & HALL OF FAME
Canal Winchester, Ohio
Don’t mess with this guy. He’ll cut you. (Photo property of the National Barber Hall of Fame)
Ah the humble barber. A profession as old as style and razors, barbering has come to have a number of symbols and relics, as well as its own share of superstars who are honored at the National Barber Hall of Fame. The museum itself has large collections of barber poles, barber chairs, razors, shaving cups, and all other manner of hair-cutting accouterment. The hall of fame seeks out people who have made “significant and lasting contribution to the barbering profession.” Any barber can be nominated and they can join the ranks of such greats as Edwin C. Jeffers and William Marvy.
Barber were into poles long before strippers. (Photo property of the National Barber Hall of Fame)
4. PINBALL HALL OF FAME
Las Vegas, Nevada
This is easily the funnest hall of fame. (Photo: Dylan Thuras on Atlas Obscura)
Once considered the downfall of American youth, pinball has stood the test of time and continues to be a popular, if niche, pastime. Las Vegas’ Pinball Hall of Fame celebrates the pinging, flashing history of the classic game by collecting hundreds of machines ranging from old mechanical boxes to more modern models. The hall of fame is not discriminating about what games make the cut. If it’s got a silver ball and flashing lights, it’s in.
The vintage games in the pinball hall of fame won’t let you down. (Photo: Avoiding Regrets on Atlas Obscura)
5. NATIONAL TOY HALL OF FAME
Rochester, New York
This guy didn’t make it into the hall of fame, but he is in the museum. (Photo: Cory Doctorow on Flickr)
Curated by the Strong National Museum of Play (maybe the best-named museum in the country), the National Toy Hall of Fame honors playthings that never go out of style. While it does not currently have its own permanent exhibit, one is being created, and in the meantime, the hall of fame welcomes new items into the club each year. Some of the inductees to the hall of fame include the Slinky, marbles, Star Wars action figures, and of course such timeless classics as stick and cardboard box.
Lunch boxes have not made it into the hall of fame yet, but cardboard boxes have. (Photo: Cory Doctorow on Flickr)
6. STICKBALL HALL OF FAME
New York, New York
Stickball, a game from the streets, finally gets its own street. (Photo: lauren on Flickr)
Despite earlier stating that you should forget sports halls of fame, this one is the exception. Located in uptown Manhattan, this hall of fame honors a game from the streets by presenting a collection of the simple tools used to make it come to life. Played with nothing more than broomsticks and a rubber ball (called a spaldeen), stickball was designed for city streets. The hall of fame honors many of the historic teams that once battled in the street including the Young Devils and Milton’s Playhouse.