The VanderVeen's want to entertain and educate the public between the two flippers of their pinball machines at the Texas Pinball Museum.
Owned by Kim and Ed VanderVeen and their collaborator, Paul McKinney, the Texas Pinball Museum is an interactive art, history and culture museum that spans five decades of pinball arcades.
And it opens Saturday, Jan. 19 in Midlothian.
Kim said the oldest machine that is in operation at the museum is from 1974, but they’re currently repairing a 1947 Humpty Dumpty and a 1932 Play-Boy that they plan to include in their lineup in the near future.
“The majority of the machines are part of our private collection until the museum builds up its own inventory,” Kim said.
The museum isn’t the VanderVeen’s first round with pinball machines. Since 2001, the VanderVeen’s have hosted the Texas Pinball Festival, a yearly event in Frisco that educates and entertains the public on pinball history with over 400 machines.
Kim said the machines are stored away during the offseason when the festival isn’t going on. More recently, however, she and her husband have been planning for other uses for the machines.
“We started thinking it would be kind of neat if we had a place to not put things back in storage,” Kim said. “That we could open to the public on a regular basis.”
Kim said Ed has been collecting and restoring arcade games as far back as 1999. She married into it with her husband and has gained a new appreciation for pinball machines ever since.
“He was a pinball person,” she chuckled. “He fixes them, restores them, brings them back to life, and I play them.”
Kim said there are currently 21 pinball machines in their museum. Besides the regular pinball games, they also have two arcade games, including “Gorf” and “Pac-Man.” She said her favorite machine is a 'Lord of the Rings' pinball game that is in the back of the museum.
“That’ll stay here until I’m tired of it,” she remarked. “That’ll probably never happen.”
Kim said she’s excited and a little scared of how the community will respond to their pinball museum. She said she’s not sure how many people will show up to their opening event, although over 800 people marked themselves as “interested” on the museum’s Facebook event.
“I want people to learn it isn’t just about the art – it’s also about the play,” she said. “And there is an art to playing.”
Kim said participants don’t need to bring quarters from home to play their pinball machines. For an admission price at the door, customers can play as many machines as they’d like, for as long as they’d want.
Kim said she hopes residents will find a new appreciation for pinball history with their museum – just like she did with Ed.
“You don’t have to worry about winning,” she said. “You just have to worry about playing.”
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays at 2100 N Hwy 67, Suite 2102, in Midlothian. Tickets for adults are $10, while children under 12 are $7.
To learn more about the museum, go online at www.texaspinball.com/museum.
Editor's note: This article is powered by Southern Draw, the Daily Light's bi-monthly guide to entertainment south of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Be sure to look for an expanded version of this article in the February issue of the magazine.