Recently on a lovely Sunday afternoon, I took a drive to Penny Lane. No, I was not in Liverpool, England – another Penny Lane exists in beautiful downtown Dunedin, Florida. A little hidden gem that is a Beatles Museum. One of the largest private collections of Beatle memorabilia, it’s an amazing Beatlemania treasure trove of 60’s & 70’s musical artifacts, a little bit of heaven for baby boomers and die-hard fans of the Fab Four. Bring the kids and teach them some music history about John, Paul, George and Ringo, and the British Invasion!
Beatlemania Lives Here
There were so many interesting pieces to see. I didn’t know where to start. Luckily, Harlan Brown, who works at the museum and is also a musician, took the time to show me around. He told me some interesting stories about different items, and both of us being big Lennon fans, shared our love for John regarding his recent 80th birthday on October 9th. Several pieces of John’s artwork are represented.
The collection is owned by Dr. Robert Entel who lives in Dunedin and heavily supports the local art scene. He has been collecting Beatles memorabilia since the 80’s. Colin Bissett is the museum curator. Mr. Bissett is from Liverpool and saw performances of the band as a teen at the original Cavern Club. Every era of the band is represented from 1961 to the 1st album in 1963, which was “Please, Please Me” to the final record “Let It Be” which was released in May of 1970.
The Beatles manager Brian Epstein allowed for merchandising of just about anything with the Beatles name and likeness. From hairbrushes to shoes, scotch tape, and aprons, watches, just to name a few of the items you will see. Vintage concert posters and iconic & rare photographs cover the walls around the museum. Instruments that are signed by Paul and Ringo are on display.
Interesting and Quirky Finds
Some of the funny stuff is puppets, various dolls, a great collection of “Yellow Submarine” and “Sgt. Pepper” pieces. Honestly, I walked around for quite a while and couldn’t tell you half of what I saw. There are so many one-of-a-kind pieces. I recalled a few things from my childhood, like a Beatles lunchbox and board game that took me back to a very different time and place. In keeping with the ambiance, Beatles music continually plays in the background as you take your tour—what a great way to spend an hour or the afternoon depending on your level of Beatle fandom.
The best part of this museum besides all of the above is that admission is FREE! There is a donation box if you would like to contribute, or you can get a t-shirt, coffee mug, or cap to support the museum. Currently, hours are Thursday – Sunday from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. The museum is located at 730 Broadway on the 2nd Floor. Be sure and take a walk around the quaint and arty downtown of Dunedin. It is a nice slice of old Florida!
Photos by Vicky Sullivan