- Associated Press - Saturday, March 11, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A new acquisition will bring thousands of pieces of Batman memorabilia out of a local fan’s basement and into the collection of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Kevin Silva, whose “Batcave” trove of souvenirs earned Guinness World Record status from 2013 to 2016, is selling more than 3,250 items to the museum.

Batman has captivated Silva, a builder and repairman of music amplifiers by day, for nearly his entire life. He turned 5 years old less than a week before ABC’s live-action “Batman” TV series debuted on Jan. 12, 1966.

“It just burned a hole in the back of my head,” Silva told The Indianapolis Star in a 2011 interview.

Items from Silva’s first year of fandom - a lunchbox he carried to kindergarten and a child’s black felt cowl paired to a purple satin cape - have been displayed as part of a sprawling but organized private museum in his north-side home.

Now, the world’s largest children’s museum will provide increased access to screen-used props, action figures, original comic-book art and toys.

Batman is an iconic hero of American culture,” Children’s Museum of Indianapolis President and CEO Jeffrey Patchen said in a statement. “We are always looking for ways to initiate conversation between multiple generations of families, and this was a perfect fit.”

The public’s first chance to see pieces of Silva’s collection at the museum arrives June 17, when a permanent attraction titled “American Pop: Galleries for American Arts & Popular Culture” debuts. Other elements of “American Pop” include gold records awarded to Elvis Presley and gravity-defying shoes owned by Lady Gaga.

There are no short-range plans to display the Batman collection in its entirety.

In pop culture, Batmania has thrived since Tim Burton made 1989’s “Batman” film starring Michael Keaton. This year, “The Lego Batman Movie” has sold more than $145 million in box-office tickets.

All eras and incarnations of Batman are represented in Silva’s “Batcave.”

A reproduction of 1939’s “Detective Comics No. 27,” in which artist Bob Kane introduced Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego, hangs from the ceiling. A cardboard cutout of Heath Ledger portraying the Joker, an Oscar-winning turn in the 2008 film “The Dark Knight,” presides over a grouping of display cases.

But it’s the 1960s TV series, which starred Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin, that is most revered in Silva’s collection.

He commissioned a handmade replica of West’s “Batman” suit for $3,600. He built the facade of a bookcase that doubles as a sliding wall, recalling the way West and Ward gained access to the Batcave. A red Batphone sits under glass - just as it was seen in Commissioner Gordon’s office. Rarer is a Gotham City phone book, reportedly an actual prop used in the making of the ‘60s show.

Overall, the tone of Batman memorabilia ranges from light (cookie jars fashioned from Caped Crusader busts) to serious (miniature statues designed by comic-book icons Frank Miller and Alex Ross).

Silva and museum representatives declined to share the purchase price for the Batman collection. In 2011, Silva said an appraisal for insurance purposes attached a six-figure dollar amount to the collection.

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Source: The Indianapolis Star, https://indy.st/2mH1i6g

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, https://www.indystar.com

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