The mission of the Super Museum is to preserve and showcase an array of Superman collectables and information for the education and enjoyment of visitors and fans of the Man of Steel.
The Official "Home of Superman"
Forget Smallville, the fictional home of Jonathan and Martha Kent and their illustrious son Clark (aka Superman), the Metropolis Chamber of Commerce wants visitors to think of their town Metropolis as the legendary residence of Kal-El, the last son of Krypton. For over two decades now, the small vill(ag)e of Metropolis, Illinois, has welcomed tourists and curiosity seekers to the one-and-only home of the comic book hero. A billboard with the image of Superman points the way to downtown Metropolis for motorists entering the city from the east side. Other images of the super hero can be found all around this town of less than seven thousand inhabitants.
Superman souvenirs are available everywhere as well. At one time, the Chamber gave away free packets of Kryptonite to children but were forced to cease this tradition when "DC Comics" claimed the practice was a copyright violation.
Things haven't always been so rosy in Metropolis though.
In 1972, the town had plans to build a thousand-acre "Amazing World of Superman", a $50 million theme park, with a 200-foot-tall statue. Cars would drive between Superman's legs to enter the park. Then the Arabs shut off the oil and the bankers shut down Metropolis's dream.
The town took over a decade to recover. Then, very cautiously, Metropolis scraped together a thousand bucks in 1986 and put up a seven-foot fiberglass Superman in the town square. It quickly became a target for literal-minded vandals who wanted to see if the Man of Steel was stronger than a speeding bullet. He wasn't, and once again Metropolis's efforts to celebrate their hero were thwarted. What could a small town like Metropolis do?
In 1993, they did a lot. On June 5th, citizens of Metropolis unveiled a new fifteen-foot bronze statue of Superman preceding the town's fifteenth annual Superman Celebration. Built by the same company that created the Emmy statue outside the Academy of Television Arts in Hollywood, the monument to the most famous flying hero ever stands proudly in full color in front of the courthouse on Superman Square. Tens of thousands have since visited the statue, and it has become a focal point of the small town's revival in both an economic and cultural sense. (Several community service groups raised over $100,000 for the project by selling personalized bricks that beautify the base and walkway around the statue.)
Visitors who can't make the Annual Superman Celebration are certainly welcome throughout the rest of the year. Superman's phone booth awaits special callers, and the business district has retail outlets. The Metropolis Planet, a bi-weekly newspaper which alerts readers of other local "Super" events, is located in the heart of Metropolis. For history buffs, the Curtis House Museum and the grave of the "Birdman of Alcatraz" are within walking distance of the statue. Small groups of re-enactors provide living history at nearby Fort Massac State Park and Museum, and Las Vegas-style gaming is available at Harrah's Casino on the Ohio River.
Metropolis, Illinois, is located just across the Ohio River from Padukah, Kentucky. From Interstate 24, follow Route 45 West for about five miles. Once you cross Massac Creek, the highway twists left then right before turning into Fifth Street. The Superman statue, located at the center of town, is at the intersection of Fifth and Market Streets. You can leave your car in any of the designated parking spots, and easily walk to all of the sites.