Plainview Klown Doll Museum
Location: Plainview, Nebraska
When to visit: Monday to Saturday, 1-4:30 pm from Memorial Day to Labor Day
Time needed: 30 minutes
The Plainview Klown Doll Museum in Plainview, Nebraska is a pretty awesome place, as long as you’re not one of those weird people who are afraid of clowns. (And if you are, why did you click on this post??) This was one of my favorite unusual places on my Nebraska road trip a few years back.
Located seemingly in the middle of nowhere, the Klown Doll Museum sits on Route 20, hundreds of miles from any big city. Look for Stumpy the Clown, an 8-foot wooden clown that sits outside the building. The museum houses about 7,000 clown dolls, the largest such collection in the world.
History of the Plainview Klown Doll Museum
The Klown Doll Band actually formed in the 1950s to play clown music and bring joy to local residents. As time went on, a small collection of clown dolls developed in the Chamber of Commerce secretary’s office.
Eventually, the collection kept growing, so the museum purchased a building right on Route 20 in the 1990s and opened for business. Mattie Vanderpool of South Dakota donated her collection of 1500 clowns, and since then the donations have come pouring in from around the country.
In 2007, the doll collection again outgrew its home. So the facility doubled in size to accommodate its growing doll collection. Local volunteers raised money and contributed many hours to expand the museum and find a home for all of its
creepy lovable dolls.
As of my visit, the museum had received visitors from 49 U.S. states – every one except West Virginia. And why does the Klown Doll Museum spell “clown” with a K? “Just to be different,” said a museum employee.
Visiting the Klown Doll Museum in Nebraska
The collection of klown dolls is massive – around 7,000, and no two are alike. They have ceramic clowns, stuffed clowns, clowns that play music, clowns on coffee mugs and clown magnets. They even have a Christmas tree covered with clown decorations and ornaments. The collection fills up two full rooms.
As of this writing, the museum is only open during the summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and only from Monday through Saturday between 1 and 4:30 pm. Yes, those hours are quite limited, so you’ll have to be dedicated to make it while they’re open.
If you want to stop by outside those months, you can give the museum a call at 402-582-4433 to set up an appointment to come in.
There’s plenty of free street parking nearby and admission is free, though you’ll surely want to drop a couple dollars in the donation box if you find the collection amusing. Or purchase some of their souvenirs. I found the hand-made greeting cards really cool.
If you want to overdose on clowns, visit on the first Saturday in June, when the city of Plainview holds its annual Klown Festival with a parade and other entertainment. Otherwise, stop by anytime you find yourself on Route 20 in this part of the country for a bit of entertainment.
If you’re looking for more quirky attractions in Nebraska, check out the Malcolm X Birthsite in Omaha. And if you’re thinking of taking a road trip through this area, check out my list of essential things to pack for a road trip.