Imagine loving an area so much you accidentally create a museum. That’s exactly what Tommy Gelinas did with his love of the San Fernando Valley. Gelinas owned a screen printing studio and began filling it with bits and pieces from the Valley, such as neon signs, menus, figures, and so much more. Eventually his collection grew into a legitimate museum, Valley Relics Museum. Back in 2017 Patrick and I visited this now absolute must-see of the greater LA area. The following year Valley Relics announced they would be moving to a larger space, and hosted a fundraiser to help with the cost of the move, a fundraiser we attended because it was located at the former Palomino Club, an old honky tonk that was one of Gram Parsons’ haunts. They reopened in October of 2019 in an old hanger, however, we failed to revisit before the pandemic hit, but now that we are vaccinated I made it a priority to visit! The new space is much larger and a great improvement. There is much more room for both visitors and displays to breathe, plus there is a free play arcade and full gift shop!
While I love me some vintage neon (and as you can see there is a lot of it), my favorite items that reside at Valley Relics are the ones from Nudie’s Rodeo Tailor and the Palomino Club. There were also artifacts from Old Trapper’s Lodge, a bizarre old west themed motel with wild west statues. Originally located in Sun Valley, the statues were moved to Pierce College in Woodland Hills. You can see more from our visit there a few years back here.
Gaze upon icons of the valley at Valley Relics at 7900 Balboa Blvd. C3 & C4, (but enter on Stagg St.) in Van Nuys. Please visit their website for further details on hours.
And if you’re in the LA area and can’t get enough neon, then I recommend also visiting the Museum of Neon Art in nearby Glendale. Take a peek at what it has to offer here.