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Elkhart has world's largest superhero museum – but maybe not for much longer

WSBT 22

It's called the largest superhero memorabilia collection in the world – and it's in Elkhart.

But it may not be for much longer.

We’re talking about the Hall of Heroes. So why is there a chance the only comic book and super hero museum in the country won’t stay right here in Michiana?

It's a war that's been raging for decades.

Characters from DC and Marvel have become the epitome of good versus evil, gracing the pages of comics books and lighting up the cinema, and you can find them all nestled in the heart of Michiana.

“We have the first wonder woman comic book, that's a big deal,” says owner/operator Allen Stewart.

People far and wide travel thousands of miles to Elkhart to experience the largest super hero collection in the world.

But the ever-growing assortment of memorabilia started long before Stewart opened its doors to the public 11 years ago.

“I just got hooked at an early age – like 5, 6 – on the Super Friend's cartoon, The batman 60's TV show.”

His childhood interest grew from there.

Stewart is a historian, well-versed in this 80-year history.

He rubs shoulders with movie stars at events around the country and is dedicated to letting others into his world. His passion is bursting at the seams.

Filled glass cases line the museum from top to bottom.

But it's pieces you can't see that are forcing this non-profit out of its current location.

“This is the big reason that we need to move,” says Stewart. “These are two vehicles from Marvel Studios sitting in storage, which is not where they should be.”

Movie artifacts sit in an attached garage, out of visitor's view, along with thousands of comics that just can't seem to fit in the current 300,000 square foot space.

“There is pressure to keep making it bigger all of the time because we don't want anyone to catch up.”

So Stewart has been scouring land along the Toll Road to find the perfect spot to attract thousands of people to the area.

“We have some really cool stuff lined up for the new location,” he says. “We will be adding a superhero room for birthday parties where people can hire a super hero. We can have a superhero there for them for like an hour so they can bring the kids out for a birthday party. It also includes access to the museum for folks. We are going to do a Riddler escape room which is going to be pretty awesome.”

Plans are in the works to move all of this into a larger facility, but as items keep pouring in to be put on display, Stewart is having trouble raising enough money to keep the collection local.

“Well this is kind of where the collection started and I've done everything that I can do to try and keep it here.”

The past two years, Stewart and his team have been committed to raising money to keep Hall of Heroes in Michiana.

But with so much still needed, it doesn't look promising.

If they fall short, Stewart will be forced to move out of the area.

“We've actually fielded offers from St. Louis, from Cleveland, from Orlando. We've had multimillion dollar offers to move from other cities.”

But he isn't giving up yet. Stewart says a bigger, more visible facility will boost his hometown's economy.

“We want to stay here in Elkhart because we are bringing national TV shows here. We know we can bring a couple million tourism dollars to the economy. We just need help getting up by the Toll Road and up around North Point Plaza.”

Hall of Heroes still needs hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep the museum local.

A fundraiser is coming up on May 12.

If you would like to donate, follow this link to the Hall of Heroes' website: https://hallofheroesmuseum.com/help-us-grow

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