Rest Easy: Mother and Son Save International Banana Museum

Food Lovers, Los Angeles, Travel News — By David Chalk on April 15, 2010 at 11:13 am

In January, in spite of its status in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “world’s largest collection devoted to any one fruit,” The International Banana Museum received an eviction notice from its city-owned space in Hesperia, California. Top Banana Ken Bannister, who has run the museum and The International Banana Club since 1976, put the museum up for sale on eBay but had some initial trouble finding a buyer.  Luckily for banana lovers everywhere, Fred Garbutt and his mother Virginia made Bannister an acceptable offer, and the museum is scheduled to reopen next January next to the Garbutt’s liquor store in North Shore, Calif.

Banana Economics:

  • Bannister estimates he spent $150,000 amassing the museum’s collection of 17,000+ banana themed “artifacts”
  • The Garbutts wouldn’t reveal how much they paid for the museum, but the price on eBay started at $35,000 and eventually dropped to $7,500

Banana Museum Origins:

Please watch this video:


Banana Puns:

  1. Bannister’s reaction to the eviction notice: “I guess it’s time to split.”
  2. Title of Wall Street Journal article about Bannister’s search: “In California, the Banana Museum Has Lost Its Appeal”
  3. Fred Garbutt on deciding to buy: “The more we talked about it, the more we were like ‘This might just be bananas enough to work.'”
  4. Fred Garbutt on his mother’s official title at the museum: “My mom is ‘Big Banana Nana.'”

More highlights of Fred Garbutt’s interview with Gawker:

  • “We’ve tried to think for the longest time of ways to bring in customers off the highway. So I thought we ought to put that down at the store—that’ll bring people in. Paint the store yellow.”
  • “It’s going to stay family friendly, definitely. It’s a banana museum, there’s no reason to put anything in there that you wouldn’t want your children to see. I’m sure there’s a lot of battery-operated objects that would not be appropriate.”

Top Banana Ken Bannister is still keeping the rights to the International Banana Club — lifetime membership is available for a $10 fee.

[Image: The International Banana Club]

Tags: California, ebay, international banana club, international banana museum, north shore, only in america


  • Ken Bananister, T.B. says:

    The Wall Street Journal headline WAS NOT TRUE or in any way correct !! The Banana Club Museum NEVER LOST IT’s APPEAL !….and they did’nt even finish the headline !! We increased the traffic at the city owned building over 800% in the only 8 hrs a week the museum was open each week ! Now, Hesperia, CA has lost one of the most unique attractions they have ever had hosted for FREE ! We are pleased that FRED, B.B. (Big Banana) and Virgina, B.N. (Banana Nanna) will be the new hosts in North Shores, CA. (on the North tip of the Salton Sea. ROCK ON ! Ken, T.B.

  • Ken Martin says:

    The Banana Club and Museum will always be on top! There was never a lack of people interested or wanting to see the Museum. Ken (and now Fred & Virginia) will keep going the good smiles and lots of fun the Banana Club and Museum have been “peeling out” for years. Way to go.


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