INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Indianapolis is known for a lot of things: the Colts, St. Elmo’s Steakhouse, the Indy 500, and now Indy’s Teeny Statue of Liberty Museum. That’s right, the world’s only Statue of Liberty memorabilia museum is located downtown at 10th and Rural, which is about 700 miles from the national monument.
Much like the French gave Lady Liberty to the United States as a symbol of friendship, Tim Harmon gifted the Circle City with this kitschy museum which boasts over 450 pieces of memorabilia. Items in the collection include lawn sprinklers, Jell-O molds, ornaments, stamps, snow globes, canned fruit, a condom, and much more.
The image of the Statue of Liberty isn’t trademarked, so it has been used millions of times. “Coca-Cola, Mickey Mouse, the Playboy Bunny, and the Statue of Liberty are the four most reproduced images in the world,” Harmon told CBS4.
Most all of the items in the museum come from Harmon’s personal collection. He began collecting Statue of Liberty memorabilia 40 years ago. It all started when he came across pieces of packing box in a parking lot where a roofing company was working. He thought it was weird that the cardboard had the Statue of Liberty on it, so he decided to keep it.
A few months later while cleaning out a senior citizens center, he found a box full of party supplies with miniature Statue of Liberty figurines.
“I took them home, and I put them on my toilet tank lid. I thought, ‘Well that looks nice.’ And then there was no stopping me. I started seeing it everywhere,” Harmon said.
He got the idea to put all of the items in a museum about two years ago.
The 9-foot by 16-foot building was originally an open alley, but it was enclosed in the 1930s.
It housed a variety of different businesses over the years, including a barber shop and an antique shop.
Harmon and his friend Julie Crow bought the tiny building as well as the much larger building next to it in 2012, and they opened a salvage shop called Tim and Julie’s Another Fine Mess. They initially used the tiny building as extra storage space for their shop.
A few years ago both of their sons started to remodel the space and had plans to open a doughnut shop. But sadly, Crow’s son was fatally shot in May 2015.
The doughnut shop never came to fruition, and the space was unused. That’s when Harmon came up with the idea to create a museum to display his massive collection.
Since the museum opened on March 26, 2016, hundreds of people from across the world have visited. The guest book shows visitors from Sweden, Ecuador, and Germany. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and IMPD Chief Bryan Roach have also visited the museum.
You can get your own private tour of Indy’s Teeny Statue of Liberty Museum by entering Tim and Julie’s Another Fine Mess next door and handing over the whopping 50-cent admission fee. So, why is it 50 cents? “I just thought it would be funny to put ’50-cent admission’ on the door. Obviously, nothing here is meant to be taken seriously,” Harmon said.
If you come across a unique piece of Statue of Liberty memorabilia, donate it to the museum, and Harmon says you may get a lifetime membership.
Museum hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.