The Goodyear World of Rubber Museum: Super Skytacular Brilliance

Unfortunately this location closed August 28, 2009, but I’m keeping the post up to let Akronites know what they missed out on.

The Goodyear World of Rubber Museum
1144 E. Market St.
Akron, Ohio 44316
(330) 796-7117

Charles Goodyear at the World of Rubber Museum

For those of you who grew up in the Akron area you may have visited the Goodyear World of Rubber Museum on a school field trip. But, if you haven’t seen it since your childhood, this little gem is worth viewing through the eyes of an adult.

While the idea of patronizing what basically amounts to a commercial inside of a tire company might seem boring, you’re actually in for a treat. The World of Rubber hasn’t been updated in at least thirty years and it maintains the charm and visual design of that era. Consider, for instance, the rubber technology timeline that ends in 1968. Many of the vehicles used as models for the manufacturer’s products could have been owned by Steve McQueen at one time or another.

The museum, which is located inside the Goodyear corporate headquarters, is free and open to the public, but only operates during regular business hours on the weekdays. Those of you with 9-5 jobs might have to take a half day off or possibly check it out during lunch to take the self-guided tour. I highly recommend you call ahead to make sure they’re open.

Security in the building is tight. All visitors are required to sign in at the front desk, have your ID scanned, and pose for quick photo (I’m not kidding). Cameras are not allowed, including camera phones, so leave them at home or you’ll have to drop them at the security desk (This explains why I had to yank a photo from the brochure).

What greets you on the fourth floor is a faux marble rotunda surrounding a six foot statue of Charles Goodyear. Read a few inspiring quotes and then move on to the simulated Malaysian rubber plantation. Don’t forget to watch the first of several short films, which is contained in a small wooden shack to your left. Part of the many retro qualities of the museum are in these short featurettes that are still projected on the original yellowed-out 16mm films from decades past.

By far my favorite part of this attraction is the Charles Goodyear workshop. Inside this rustic diorama is a life-sized mannequin of the inventor himself. At his feet is what appears to be an actual taxidermied dog. I’m not 100% sure this was a live pooch of Akron’s past, but judge for yourself. Underneath the sign proclaiming “Charles Goodyear—Inventor” you will find a tiny white button labeled “start.” Punch it and a hidden motor hums to life, projecting a film of an actor on the face of the mannequin telling the story of the chap and his discovery of vulcanization in the first person (As depicted in the photo above). Instead of Disney’s Hall of Presidents, think Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.

There’s more to see than just these examples in this four-room attraction. If you skip the 30 minute introductory video (which I recommend you stick around to view to understand the subtitle of this post) you can see everything in under twenty minutes. It’s worth it



3 Responses to “The Goodyear World of Rubber Museum: Super Skytacular Brilliance”

  1. Hubba Bubba Shoe Says:

    This museum is my favorite. I had a great time. It was even better than the Witch museum in Salem…and that was at Halloween!

  2. Steve Felix Says:

    Sounds like a good place to do some graphic design research for AIFF.

  3. Mike Says:

    The Charles Goodyear robot freaked me out!! Goodyear should donate it to the Haunted Laboratory

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