The Lunch Box Museum is near the shores of Clear Lake in rural California’s wine country. Right off Highway 20 in the town of Nice, it resides in what looks like a garage. But what’s inside will surprise visitors as they are treated to all things retro, including lunch boxes to suit any childhood—from Strawberry Shortcake to the Lone Ranger (thermos included in most cases). The collection spans the walls, rests on shelves near the ceiling, and fills the eyes.
The museum is also home to a variety of toys. Deb Clarke, the museum’s owner, loves dolls and is particularly fond of her collection of Barbies, which includes many rare finds. There are also collections that include Pez memorabilia, Hot Wheels, ashtrays, along with salt and pepper shakers. All these things mix together in a carnival-style atmosphere filled with bright colors, giant clowns, and strangeness.
Every toy and lunch box has a personal story, and Clarke is happy to tell the history behind each piece and how she came to find it. As she talks, each lunchbox and toy comes to life, becoming something personal and meaningful. Also, many of the objects on display are for sale and new items are constantly showing up inside the museum.
Know Before You Go
The Lunch Box Museum is open every Saturday and Wednesday from 12:00 pm- 2:00 pm. For your convenience, Deb Clarke is also available by appointment.