Souvenir Buildings make way to Local History Museum in Michigan

When we as collectors are putting together a collection, a thought of showcasing our collection to friends, family and rest of the world often crosses the minds of most of us. Therefore we invite people to our home to see our collection(/s), SBCS Conventions & SBCS Zoom calls being a couple of those golden opportunities . Thanks to the social media, it has become much easier these days to share our passion. However having our collection being displayed at a museum or a public display is one of the best ways to let a much bigger section of community see our prized & precious congregation of souvenir buildings.

One of the long time members of Souvenir Building Collectors Society, Wynn Wikman has made us proud by getting part of his collection displayed at local history Museum, Tri-Cities Historical Museum in Grand Haven, Michigan. Here is a quick glance of the how tall & beautifully his collection shines in there.

Wynn’s collection at Tri-Cities Historical Museum in Grand Haven, Michigan.

Here are a few words from Wynn sharing interesting facts about himself , why & how he got into collection of Souvenir Buildings and how his stunning & hand picked collection made its way to the Tri-Cities Historical Museum.

I have been a collector all my life, I started collecting souvenir buildings about 20 years ago. As an architecture aficionado I like the ability to hold a building in my hand and take in the whole thing at once. As a sculptor I appreciate the 3D form of these replicas as well as the artistic license some of the makers have taken in their creations. As a history buff I am interested in the time or events these objects represent, as well as the history of the replicas themselves. As a traveler I enjoy the memories these souvenirs give for places I have visited. I also like the variety of structures represented and the ability to create new cityscapes on a shelf.

I have a small part of my collection (less than 100) on display at a Tri-Cities Historical Museum in Grand Haven, Michigan.  I included basic information about each of the replicas on display.  I arranged a shelf with a souvenir building timeline ranging from a grand tour obelisk replica to a One World Trade Center replica, a shelf with Michigan buildings, a shelf with US buildings, a shelf with foreign buildings, and a shelf with a variety of buildings made from materials other than metal, the Souvenir Buildings Miniature Buildings book, the latest SBCS newsletter, and the text below.  The pictures are of set up and Michigan buildings I have on display.

Some background to the display.  I saw a Facebook post from the museum about their then current Community Curators display asking if anyone had a collection they wanted to share.  I told them I did, and we scheduled a time frame for my display.  I found out I had 5 shelves to work with.  I then decided to dedicate one shelf to a historical overview of souvenir buildings, one to Michigan structures, one to United States structures, one to foreign structures, and one to souvenirs made with other materials than metal along with books, SBCS newsletter and other paperwork.  Most of the structures that I chose to include were vintage metal pieces, since those are the ones that interest me the most.  I selected a wide range of types of structures and locations.  I did not just include my best pieces, but ones I thought would be interesting to someone who was just being introduced to souvenir buildings.  I limited myself to 18 per shelf because I was able to include information about that many on a printed page that I mounted behind the replicas.  I included a key to what was on each shelf that listed what the structure is, where it is, the time frame that the replica was made and the material the replica was made from.

Enjoy a walkthrough of the individual shelves

Buildings, Events, Miscellaneous, Monuments, News, People

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.