First, some history: After 34 years in Altadena, the "world's largest collection devoted to any one fruit"--per the Guiness Book of World Records--moved to Hesperia in 2006. And the Hesperia Recreation & Parks District housed the 17,000 piece (all family friendly!) International Banana Club and Museum at no charge until this past January. But then it informed banana curator Ken Bannister it wanted to rotate exhibitions, and would be replacing the bananas with a collection of artifacts from the late Hesperia-area historian John Swisher, according to the Wall Street Journal ("'It's run its course,' says Cal Camara, the parks' general manager"). Bannister tried putting the collection up on eBay, at $45,000, then at $7,500. But finally, NPR reports, a mother and son pair have bought the collection and the museum will reopen near Palm Springs in January 2011. According to the WSJ, Bannister has laid out $150,000 on bananabilia over the years, but he also says his Banana Club card has somehow gotten him out of six speeding tickets (no details provided), so it's not all for nothing. One more fun fact: he once tried to rent the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile so he could convert it into a banana car and ride it in the Rose Parade. Oscar Mayer declined the offer.
· In California, the Banana Museum Has Lost Its Appeal [WSJ]
· World's Largest Banana Museum Forced To Split [NPR]