Kneisel Collection in Action in Pakistan

Photo of School Children viewing Architectural Models

Architectural Styles from around the world on view in the Museum of Architecture, TDCP, Changa Manga Resort

From cherished collection to firing children’s imaginations.  Bob Kneisel’s gift to the Souvenir Building Collectors Society is beginning to make friends across the sea.  In September, 2017, the first disbursement of small buildings to a museum was sent to The MUSEUM OF ARCHITECTURE at TDCP Changa Manga Resort, Punjab, Pakistan.  Click here to access SBCSociety post on initial placement.

And now SBCS is receiving updates from Muhammad Raza Kahn, President of the Cultural Foundation of Pakistan on how Bob’s treasured pieces are being used to foster understanding of Architecture across cultures.   He is also interested in expanding and filling out the Museum’s examples of Architecture.  The attached links show the student activities during overnights at Changa Manga Resort.

Cultural Foundation of Pakistan

SBCS-Overnight Camp at Changa Manga Grp 9

If you are interested in contributing buildings to the TDCP Changa Manga Resort’s collection of architectural models, you can contact Muhammad Raza Kahn at




CHICAGO 2017 PHOTOS: Rare Souvenir Buildings and More ……..

The stories are swell at a SBCS Convention “Show and Tell.”

Original Irish Hill Tower and Gray Tower, Lenawee County, MI. Souvenir Buildings / Salt and Pepper Shakers.

Bill H. and Michael E. brought the tale and the evidence of the IRISH HILLS TOWERS saga.  Apparently in the 1920s a farmer,  who owned part of a hill that the Michigan Observation Company (MOC) sought to purchase for a tourist-based observation tower, refused to sell his portion.  Whereupon, the enterprising company purchased the adjoining piece of land and built the IRISH HILLS OBSERVATORY and opened it to the public in September of 1924, to great success.   By November of the same year (just 2 months later), the envious nay-sayer had built his own tower adjacent to the first and made it a bit higher to attract the tourists to his site.  Reacting to challenge the Michigan Observation Company added a second observation platform atop the first and called their tower the ORIGINAL IRISH HILLS TOWER.  The farmer then evened the height of his tower with the “Original” and named his tower the “Gray” tower.  MOC then countered with the threat of tearing down their tower and erecting a metal edifice so large that the challenge would be over.  From then until the 1950s the towers were competing attractions.  In the 1950s they were operated as one attraction with a gift shop between.   As of today, they are on the US National Register of Historic Places.  Bill’s and Michael’s Salt and Pepper Shakers depict the Original Irish Hills Tower and the Gray Tower.

Sofitel Hotel (a former City Hall), Amsterdam; Dordrecht City Hall, Netherlands.

From the KLM and Goedewaagen collection of Simon H. comes a pair of rare Goedewaagen porcelain buildings.  The building on the left is the Sofitel Legend Grand Amsterdam Hotel, the site and building has a long and storied history, prior to it’s re-incarnation as a hotel.  The building on the left is the City of Hall of Dordrecht.


Steve B. and Terry M. went building hunting with Joe K. at the start of the weekend in Chicago.  To the delight of all, the finds were special and the swapping even better.  Terry found the very nice St. Peter’s Basilica in the same mall that Joe found the University Hall and a mutually-agreed-upon swap was executed.

McPherson Opera House souvenir building and as pictured in a iPhone photograph.

Steve also shared his acquisition of the McPherson Opera House and the photo he had taken of the actual building.

There are lots of convention photos to be seen in the Members Only portion of the website.  Head on over to MEMBERS ONLY / CONVENTION PHOTOS and click one of more of the links under 2017.

KNEISEL COLLECTION: Initial Museum Donation

The MUSEUM OF ARCHITECTURE at TDCP Changa Manga Resort, Punjab, Pakistan is the first recipient of souvenir buildings from the Kneisel Collection.

A portion of the Cultural Foundation of Pakistan powerpoint presentation.

In June of 2016, Robert Kneisel willed his collection of some 4000 plus souvenir buildings and statues to the Souvenir Building Collectors Society. The SBCS formed a Kneisel Collection Team spearheaded by Chris S. to address the disposition of such a magnificent gift. The team quickly determined that the bulk of the quality buildings could form the basis of a permanent display of souvenir buildings in one or more museums. Planning toward this end began in August of 2016.

Serendipitously, in March of 2017, the Society was approached, through the SBCSociety website, by Muhammad Raza Kahn, President of the Cultural Foundation of Pakistan. He told of the establishment of a Museum of Architecture and requested, from the Souvenir Building Collectors Society, the donation of architectural models of world landmarks for a display to be entitled “EXPLORE CULTURE THROUGH ARCHITECTURE.

Joe K. and Chris S. took the lead in contacting and working with Mr. Kahn, who provided the Kneisel Collection Team with a powerpoint presentation detailing the plans for the Museum of Architecture and how it our small buildings would become part of the larger exhibit.  Click below to view the presentation (remember to hit the arrow to make it run):

The team confirmed the suitablility of the request and selected an array of iconic world miniature buildings as the donation. The selected items made their way from Los Angeles, through Canada, and on to Pakistan, where they arrived in September 2017. They will be displayed at the ModelTown Museum in Lahore, Pakistan.


While this story is about the donation to the Museum of Architecture in Pakistan, it is also a reminder that SBCS is looking for other museums or appropriate institutions (library, university or college, city hall) who are interested in permanently acquiring souvenir buildings for display.  If you have a suggestion or two – Send the Kneisel Collection Committee an email.


ABC …. Challenge on Facebook

Newly installed SBCS President Carolyn Curtiss recently issued a challenge to the friends of the Souvenir Building Collectors Society Facebook page: “Let’s have some fun. Buildings alphabetically. Here’s my A from my collection. Aschaffenburg Germany Bank.  Tomorrow I’ll post a B. Anybody else have an A or B?”

So……. while waiting for the next SBCSociety website post – lots of convention pictures, head on over to the SBCS on Facebook  and check out the growing number of alphabetically posted pictures from numerous contributors.

Here is a sample:


Why not join the fun and add your own photos.  Let’s see the variety of souvenir buildings that can  get us all the way through the alphabet to Z, or if you prefer – Zed.

CHICAGO 2017: It is in The Bag!

Convention Goodie Bag with brochures, maps, and schedule. 2017 Convention Building Souvenir: Wrigley Building Bank

Memories of: Architecture, Friends, FLW, the Bean, Museums, the River, Shopping, Swapping, and lots of Little Buildings! They’ve all been packed up and are headed for home ……………….

Kudos to Mark and Michael for a well-executed Convention with lots of options, camaraderie, and plenty of opportunities for acquisition of small buildings.  As plans for the next conventions crystallize they will be conveyed via The Journal of the Souvenir Building Collectors Society and this website.  

CHICAGO 2017: Countdown and Parking!

SBCS members from across the land and around the world are packing, planning, and heading to Chicago. By car, van, SUV… by planes small and large, it is the Gathering of the Clan.

***********WE ARE ON OUR WAY! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Governor of Illinois and the Mayor of the Windy City had a joint press conference this morning , and their message was simple. “Citizens of Chicago, bring out your little buildings and monuments, the SBCS is coming to town!” ………..OK, maybe I’m making that up. I might be a little excited!

Michael and I have been finalizing… emailing, writing, phoning, initialing, signing, printing, photocopying. Checking our lists. Making new lists.

In less than a week we will all come together to celebrate our obsessions.
How great is that?

When you get there…

Look for the SBCS signage after you check in.
Come and see us at Registration – Pick up your Convention Package.


Have breakfast every morning in the lobby.
Enjoy coffee with the gang! Buy Raffle tickets.

Thursday night – Early Bird pizza night!

Friday morning – Frank Lloyd Wright time. An early morning bus tour.

Friday night – Reception at the hotel.
Schmoozing, socializing, Show & Tell. Buy Raffle tickets.

Saturday – Early morning Architectural River Cruise. Buy Raffle tickets.
Then it’s…the Business meeting, then the SWAP MEET!

Buy more Raffle tickets.

Saturday nightBanquetAuctionRaffle (Did I mention the tickets?)

Sunday morning – A walking tour in the Loop.
And don’t forget the Randolph St. Antique Market.

SEE YOU IN CHICAGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But where do we Park?

In less than 100 hours – very early on Wednesday morning – two cars will pull out on the road – one from Nashville and one from Toronto. Both cars will head towards Chicago, Illinois. Other cars from other places are heading there as we speak. And what happens when we all reach Chicago? Where will we park?

Parking in Chicago is a thing.

At the Homewood Suites, Valet Parking with In & Out privileges is $59 a night. That’s somewhere between the best deal in town and Ouch!!

Next door to the Hotel, at the Grand Plaza parking lot, it’s $45 for 24 hours, with no In & Out.

Then there are crowd-sourced APP’s that you can download – like SpotHero and ParkWhiz.
They will tell you where you can park and for how much. It won’t be at the hotel, and probably nowhere near the hotel, but it will be cheaper.
Cab or Uber it back to the hotel.

Keep Smiling – Use transit
Have a great Convention!
Michael Emrick & Mark Fine