National Pinball Museum Coming to Georgetown

Photo by freakgirl.

Soon Georgetown may be host to just about the most fun national museum in Washington: the National Pinball Museum. A product of one man’s nearly lifelong love of the game, the museum right now is a collection of more than 800 pinball games stored in a warehouse behind David Silverman’s Silver Spring home. Silverman hopes to set up a museum proper in the Georgetown Park mall this summer.

Taking over the space previously occupied by an F.A.O. Schwartz, the National Pinball Museum would be a multifaceted shrine to what is GM’s favorite way to spend a few quarters. The museum would include a theater showing movies about pinball, classrooms and teaching areas, a permanent exhibit on the history of pinball, and, best of all, a rotating collection of playable pinball games.

There would be about 60 of these games and they would represent all of pinball’s eras, from the 1870s to the modern day.

Besides just being fun to play, the best pinball machines are a delightful mix of engineering and graphic art that reflects the changing tastes of American culture. They are more than worthy of a museum in their honor. But it isn’t a done deal yet. Like most new museums, Silverman is looking for financial support for his vision to come into fruition. So donate some money if you want to make Georgetown a lot more fun place.

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “National Pinball Museum Coming to Georgetown

  1. Ever since I was a young boy I played the silver ball
    From Soho down to Brighton I must have played them all
    But I ain’t seen nothing like him in any amusement hall
    That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball
    He stands like a statue, becomes part of the machine
    Feeling all the bumpers, always playing clean
    He plays by intuition, the digit counters fall
    That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball
    He’s a pinball wizard, there has to be a twist
    A pinball wizard’s got such a supple wrist
    How do you think he does it, I don’t know
    What makes him so good
    He ain’t got no distractions, can’t hear no buzzes and bells
    Don’t see lights a-flashing, he plays by sense of smell
    Always has a replay, never tilts at all
    That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball
    He can’t beat me now I’ve always been the champ
    I know every trick, no freak’s gonna beat my hand
    Even on my usual table, he can beat the best
    His disciples lead him in and he just does the rest
    He’s got crazy flipper fingers, I’ve never seen him fall
    That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball
    He’s a pinball wizard, there has to be a twist
    A pinball wizard’s got such a supple wrist
    He’s a pinball wizard, he’s scored a trillion more
    A pinball wizard, the world’s new pinball lord
    He’s scoring more, he’s scoring more
    I thought I was the Bally table king
    But I just handed my pinball crown to him, to him, to him
    — THE WHO

  2. Lou

    I think if you grew up in any decade before the 80’s, the “clack” sound of a free game on a pinball machine is in your DNA. I would very much look forward to patronizing this place.

  3. GM

    Actually I grew up in the 80s and the sound of the replay knock is absolutely music to my ears.

  4. Carol Joynt

    I believe there once was a game arcade on M Street … near where Club Monaco now resides. It gave children someplace to go, something to do.

  5. Lou

    @GM, granted it’s kind of a fuzzy cutoff. I think by the end of the 80’s video games and consoles had squeezed out most of the old mechanical games.

    The handful of storefront arcades in Arlington shuttered their windows sometime in the mid 80’s.

  6. Kate Whitmore

    There were some decent pinball machines at Whitey’s in Arlington until at least the mid ’80s.

  7. ALWAYS loved the clack of an extra game!

  8. Jad

    I’m pretty positive the arcade was where Chipotle is now. Can anyone confirm? Pinball, but also video games and air hockey. About the same time there was also a basement one well up Wisconsin, at Van Ness.

  9. Pingback: Vox Populi » The Pinball Museum is coming to Georgetown

  10. Pingback: Georgetown Fall Preview «

  11. robin lester

    would like to know if anyone is interested in a 1972 chicago times pinball machine that we are trying to sell( we live in landover hills) ?

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