Last Updated on July 29, 2020 by Jeremy
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It would be quite difficult to come up with just one sentence that describes the private collection at Trundle Manor better than the current slogan: “The most unusual tourist trap in the world meets the most bizarre private collection on public display.”
This residence in Swissvale is the home of Mr. Arm and Velda von Minx, a couple whose personal collection of unusual antiques and oddities is second to none.
They have something for everyone, but only those with a unique (and slightly twisted) sense of humor will get the full benefit of their collection.
Thankfully, we are those people.
Disclaimer: Some of the images featured in this post contain taxidermy animals, tumors in a jar, cleavers, disturbing medical antiques, and other oddities that some may find offensive. If this is you, click here to read our review of the Heinz History Center or the Duquesne Incline instead. For those that continue reading on, be sure to hover over the images if you want to learn more about what is in the image!
Medical Oddities, Taxidermy, Steam Punk, and So Much More
In many cases there is no rhyme or reason for what is collected at Trundle Manor. You'll be walking through their rooms and find yourself next to a collection of old meat cleavers, which is below an assortment of taxidermy animals (including such hybrids as the adorable bat duck), and near a bookshelf that contains a secret entrance to their mad science laboratory (also known as the kitchen).
If this house was curated by other collectors, you'd say it was disjointed and doesn't make much sense. But in this particular collection it works because everything is unique and has a story worth hearing about (from the case full of medical speculums to a singing uterus tumor which was growing inside a friend of the couple).
Suffice it to say, you have to have a bit of an unusual humor to find some of the collectibles interesting, but there are also more conventional collections that will make everyone happy- like the converted automobile that is now a zombie killer with nine-foot flame throwers attached to both sides a la Mad Max.
As is the case with many attractions in Pittsburgh, we do not like to give it all away because we want you to experience it for yourself. Trundle Manor is one of these spots that is best left for you to experience so we're going to stop describing what is found inside so you'll have many surprises left for your visit.
Thankfully, there is so much more to talk about in addition to the collection, so read on!
Putting All Their Skills on Display
The most fascinating thing about Trundle Manor to us is not the collection that is proudly on display (although it is pretty incredible), but is instead the fact that a good percentage of the collection was built by Mr. Arm and Velda themselves!
This couple are accomplished artisans skilled in everything from photography and costume design to woodworking, miniature carving, welding, painting, and yes, even taxidermy (although the acquisition of said pieces is left to others who occasionally preserve them with some, ahem, unconventional methods).
This gives an added layer of depth to all of the pieces on display in the manor as you'll come to learn the back story of any piece in their collection and how their personal skills were put to the test in building it (including a fully articulated robot/steampunk arm welded together by Mr. Arm- as he was wearing it!).
Offering More Than Just a Tour
For those who love this attraction, rest assured that Mr. Arm and Velda offer far more than just a tour of their house. They also hold many events including stand-up comedy in their parlor, horror movie nights, Halloween bashes, and even taxidermy lessons in the basement for groups or a romantic couples night (their first date involved taxidermy, after all). With even more events in the works, there really is a lot to experience at this hidden gem in Pittsburgh.
Now I just have to figure out how I can make it back to try my hand at taxidermy to help add a new oddity to their collection.
A new Pittsburgh life goal has been added to the list.
Trundle Manor is a private residence in Swissvale owned by Mr. Arm and Velda. As such, tours must be arranged in advance and are limited based on their schedule. Reservations are recommended at least a week in advance; however, if you are on a fixed timeline we recommend getting in contact sooner rather than later. A donation in exchange for the tour is required and can be in the form of money, liquor, or a new oddity to add to their collection.
Although the residence can be enjoyed by anyone (kids have even been known to be fascinated with several of the exhibits), we recommend this attraction only to those who have an open mind. You know who you are.