As you can tell by now, there are quite a few zany locations on our list to visit, and one of the zaniest is the National Museum of Roller Skating in Lincoln, Nebraska. Kimmer and I have never roller skated together, but we have both have enjoyed the sweet refrain of Journey’s Open Arms in a “couples skate” or two at our local roll arena . So, it was a no-brainer that we were gonna make a quick couples skate around this attraction even without our glow-stick outfitted skates at the ready.
The museum is housed in what appears to have formerly been a doctor’s office or private residence inside the USA Roller Sports Headquarters. We followed the tiny signs through the office area – which was largely abandoned as it was prime lunch time – to the back of the building. It was a little disappointing that we didn’t get a chance to see any employees, as Kimmer always has plenty of questions.
The museum filled one large room and consisted of a dozen or so glass cases, heaped with roller skating history. I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting but it was much smaller than I had anticipated.
But, it was very well laid out and, we jumped right in. Originally invented in the mid 1700s, roller skates have always been a source of engineering ingenuity. There were many original and old-fashioned skates from as early as 1819 that were made to be strapped over shoes and targeted nearly every walk of life – from the wealthiest to children. The cases outlined many key innovations that changed the way skating was perceived and marketed.
There were also displays focused on more current roller skating – from roller blades, hockey, roller derby and roller dancing. The latter was featured on a film loop playing at the museum’s entrance. There were a few oddities in the bunch as well, including gas powered roller skates – which seem like an accident waiting to happen (at 30 mph).
The museum took about 40 minutes to see, though we could have spent more time if anyone was manning the gift shop – a little disappointing for sure. But, it has gotten me excited about going roller skating or getting roller blades, which I keep reminding to Kimmer.
The museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday, and admission is free. The museum is located at 4730 South Street, Lincoln, Nebraska 68506, and you can find more information here.