I love airplanes.
I bet you didn’t see that coming.
Of course, I prefer the real deal to a model or a toy of any sort. But alas… I’m not fortunate enough to find myself actually in an airplane or out at the airport as often as I’d like. So, I’ve expectedly gathered an aviation trinket or two… or twenty.
A few of my favorites?
- A plush Boeing 747 (who wouldn’t want to snuggle an airplane at bedtime?)
- A shabby chic seaplane that hangs in our living room
- A model FedEx Boeing 777
- A vintage Eastern Airlines magazine ad
The list goes on, and on, and on.
But I recently heard about someone whose “collection” puts mine to shame – I mean really puts mine to shame.
The city of Fitchburg, Mass. boasts a hidden gem for aviation enthusiasts of all ages: Top Fun Aviation Toy Museum. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never even been to Massachusetts – but now I really have a reason to visit the Bay State.
The Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise highlighted the museum and its curators earlier this week. In a nutshell, nearly 20 years ago Deborah Scheetz earned her private pilot’s license. And at the time, her friends jokingly gifted her a number of toy airplanes to “‘make up” for not being able to give her a real plane.
Today, Scheetz and friend Rosalie Dunbar act as cocurators, volunteering their time to keep this all ages “wonder of flight” museum running. And get this – Top Fun boasts nearly three thousand aviation toys. That’s unreal!
The two friends say that it wasn’t necessarily the toy collection, but rather aviation history and a fascination with flight that inspired them to open the museum. They knew kids would be interested and curious, so they first opened Top Fun in 2000 in Winchendon. About six years later, the nonprofit museum relocated to its current spot in Fitchburg.
In addition to the overabundance of toys and the brightly painted murals, the museum’s annual “paper airplane contest” is a huge draw.
Well… I know where I’m headed when I finally make it out to Massachusetts!
Learn more about Top Fun on their website.