For the banana museum, time to split

The world's biggest collection devoted to a fruit hits hard times

Banana anyone? The International Banana Club and Museum—home to more than 17,000 banana-themed items, from a banana golf putter to a gold-sequined “Michael Jackson banana”—is in need of a new home. Ken Bannister, the museum’s founder, was recently informed by local officials in Hesperia, Calif., that he would have to vacate the city-owned space that currently houses the collection. Bannister started building his collection in 1972 and opened his first banana museum in Altadena, Calif. Despite efforts over the years to sell merchandise and shares in a “Banana Club” (membership: 35,000), his museum has never been the financial success he once dreamed. One of the big challenges over the years has been keeping his collection family friendly. Items that he receives that are “lewd, crude or lascivious” are returned to sender. Bannister, who is known as “Top Banana”, says he is considering relocating his collection or selling it all on eBay. “I guess it’s time to split,” he says.

Wall Street Journal

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