Matchstick Marvels Tourist Center

Gladbrook, IA

Over five million wooden matchsticks have gone into Iowa artist Patrick Acton’s 70 incredibly detailed scale models of life-like sculptures, complex machines, and world-renowned architecture. The tiny 2-inch-long sticks have been used to build huge models, like his 13-foot true-to-scale model of the battleship USS Iowa, and a 12-foot lighted model of the United States Capitol. The Matchstick Marvels display continues to draw visitors from all over the world. 

You can see many of Acton’s most intricate creations at the Matchstick Marvels Tourist Center, as well as drawings and plans for many of the models, plus tools and equipment used in construction, and a video documentary of Acton’s unusual hobby. More of Acton’s unique models can be seen in museums around the world. Many are featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not museums in North America, Australia, Asia, and Europe.

Groups can schedule tours any time, year round. For more information or to customize a tour for your group, contact Matchstick Marvels at 641-473-2410 or visit

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