Don't light this match--it's for show! Matchstick artist, Patrick Acton, grew up on a farm near Rippey, Iowa. Pat became interested in working with wood at an early age. I don't call Pat's niche wood work--I call it art work in wood. Seeing is believing--but I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the Matchstick Marvels Museum in Gladbrook, Iowa.



Patrick Acton built his first matchstick creation shortly after graduating from college (UNI) in 1977. It all progressed from there. I would suspect he even surprised himself when he built this beautiful 12 feet long replica of the U.S. Capitol in 2001--Take a guess how many matchsticks--you are right on if you guessed in the neighborhood of one-half million!!!!

Left: The Conestoga horse drawn wagon made its first appearance in the eastern United States in the late 18th century. It would haul up to six tons. (20,000 matchsticks) Right: Reflecting back on the Civil War Era with the Parrott rifle and limber. (8,000 matchsticks)

Wright at Right: I think the Wright brothers would have been proud to know these 10,000 matchsticks were put together in their honor.

Left: I just haven't seen a Brontosaurus lately--but I do know it took 18,000 matchsticks to put this guy together. Right: The bald eagle is no longer on the endangered species list, but let's protect this guy. We do not want him to go the way of the dinosaur. (15,000 matchsticks)

The Space Shuttle Challenger--a lot of history here. On January 28, 1986, the Challenger exploded in air 73 seconds into its 10th mission. Seven crew members lost their lives. An investigation ordered by President Ronald Reagen revealed a failed o-ring damaging the external fuel tank. A sad ending but the Challenger made a very important contribution to space-age technology. (200,000 matchsticks)

The box to the left actually would have contained the very same Ohio Blue Tip Matches my dad used to light his barn lantern and my mom would use to light our kerosene lamp. That, of course, was some 70 plus years ago. Pat used the same type matches when he started his hobby in 1977. Then after cutting the sulfur heads from over 100,000 matches, he discovered he could order headless matches directly from the factory (right).  Wow--what a sigh of relief.

Every kid would love this Apache H 64 Helicopter--and I'm no exception. (26,000 matchsticks)

Left: A new experiment--Pat painted this P51 Mustang Fighter Plane. He liked the effect of the natural wood better. I agree--how can you improve on perfect? (15,000 matchsticks) Right: Fighter planes on the deck of the supercarrier USS Nimitz. (40,000 matchsticks)

Old Iowa barns--here we go again. This beautiful old Iowa barn and windmill was one of Pat Acton's earlier "Matchstick Marvels." This old barn display dates back to 1978. I really liked everything in the museum, but this may be my very favorite. (5,000 matchsticks)

Left: Cutty Sark Clipper Ship. (39,000 matchsticks.

On the right is Notre Dame. (298,000 matchsticks)

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.  (NIV) (Deuteronomy 7:9)

The Matchstick Marvels Museum is a good example of small town treasurers found in small town Iowa. I would certainly recommend this as a day trip to Gladbrook, Iowa.