Baltimore Insider

National Pinball Museum bounced again

David Silverman and his National Pinball Museum can't get a break.

Less than six months after leaving his Inner Harbor location in the face of a proposed rent increase, Silverman and 350 of his machines are about to again find themselves without a home.

Since moving out of the old Chocolate Factory building in March, Silverman has been storing the bulk of his collection at an abandoned shopping mall in Carroll County. But now the owner of the site, which will soon be home to a Walmart, has said he has until mid-September to get out.

"I'm on the verge of just wiping my hands of everything," says Silverman, who is being forced to move his collection for the third time in less than two years. In September 2011, the museum was forced out of a building on M Street in Georgetown after developers decided to rehab the structure.

With just over a month to find a new space, Silverman says he sees only two options. He's still hoping that the finances will come together to make his vision of a permanent museum possible. However, he says, he can no longer afford to maintain the collection -- or move it yet again -- himself.

Without investors coming to the rescue, or at the least someone offering storage space and a reasonable long-term lease, Silverman says he'll have to sell off his collection. He's already met with one Pennsylvania auction house.

"This is a very emotional thing for me," he says. "But I can't go through this again, because of how many times I've done it and the toll this has taken on me and my family."