What if I told you there is a single place where you can see tiny recreations of the largest versions of roadside attractions all in one place? Well, clear the sleep from your eyes for it is no dream. It is the World’s Largest Collection of World’s Smallest Versions of World’s Largest Things in the appropriately teeny-tiny town of Lucas, Kansas, and friends, it makes my heart so happy.
Like most red-blooded Americans, I am a fan of the roadside attraction. Calling something a tourist trap increases its likelihood of trapping me 100 percent. It seems the rest of the staff are also fans. When we saw the world’s largest cast iron skillet being moved to its new location at the future Lodge Cast Iron Museum, we began planning a staff road trip just to visit all the amazing giant objects that litter our roadsides (in Mercedes Streeter’s bus, of course):
Yes, we have everything in this land of ours, and a lot of places to put it in. But what if you want to see all of these sites at once? There’s only one place you can do that. Lucas, Kansas, population 393, considers itself the “Grassroots Art Capitol Of Kansas.” The town naturally has its own world’s largest object, the World’s Largest Souvenir Travel Plate.
Erika Nelson opened a small storefront for the WLCoWSVoWLT in 2017 right on main street to feature her formerly traveling sideshow collection of miniature recreations of the world’s largest objects. She told Atlas Obscura in 2019 that the idea to open a museum came from her desire to have knick-knacks representing the largest objects she visited. There were no souvenirs of the actual large objects themselves, so she aimed to changed that. When asked exactly what her museum is, she says “it’s pretty self-explanatory.” Luckily she still goes on to explain it:
It’s not enough to have normal size representations of the world’s largest objects, she has to recreate the objects in much smaller, tchotchke size. If possible, she then takes the tiny versions to visit their much larger progenitors and takes a picture. The museum even has it own song, which is charming as hell.
If you’re looking to head there yourself, you might want to call ahead. This museum is open "by appointment or chance" — which seems fitting for this collection of curiosities.
Nelson isn’t just the curator of one of the most fascinating collections of grassroots art based on roadside attractions, she’s an artist, educator and a consultant for towns interested in building their own world’s largest objects, according to Atlas Obscura, which kind of sounds like the most fun job ever.