You don't need to be a relic of the San Fernando Valley to appreciate the Valley Relics Museum, but it helps. Founded by SFV native Tommy Gelinas, this lovingly curated reservoir of ephemera features a collection belonging to Bob and Julie Ream, longtime Valley residents who worked in the two industries that transformed the Valley into the suburban boomtown it became: aeronautics and entertainment. One smaller exhibit honors cowboy tailor Nudie Cohn, but for those of us who grew up in the high-temperature Valley during its hazy heyday of the '70s and '80s, the bitchin' wave of nostalgia swells inside the museum's main room. Here, the nondescript industrial warehouse space is transformed into an immersive time machine, stockpiled with old neon signs, retired mascots, local sports memorabilia, vintage BMX bikes, weird cars and neighborhood restaurant menus from an era when one could comfortably puff on a cigarette between bites of a $2.95 chicken dinner at Love's Wood Pit Barbecue. The one thing missing is a ride simulation with animatronic parents dropping off their kids at Topanga Plaza, only to have them cross the street and spend their food money at Licorice Pizza (or, better yet, Moby Disc).
Credit: Tanja M. Laden