The idea for the UCM Museum started by chance, when John Preble met
Ross Ward at Tinkertown Museum, Ward's New Mexico roadside attraction.
Preble had taken his family on a weeklong vacation to see the Santa
Fe area when he discovered Tinkertown. "Like most families, we
enjoy roadside attractions and from the brochure we had, this one looked
like it would be fun." Preble remembers. "We weren't
disappointed. As we walked through Ward's museum I was totally
overwhelmed and intrigued."
Preble left Tinkertown with idea of creating a Southern version of
Tinkertown. "Before seeing Tinkertown, I didn't realize that the
public might be interested in seeing my collections and inventions. The
UCM Museum now allows me to have an environment to share with people
what I have been collecting and making for a long time." Preble
Visitors to the UCM will find a renovated gasoline service station, a
ninety year old Creole cottage, a new exhibit hall, the beautiful
"House of Shards," and other buildings.
Of particular interest to the RV crowd is the old Airstream with an
attached flying saucer. Inside the aluminum crash site visitors will see
aliens living at home in Airstream.
The museum grounds are landscaped with lots of bamboo and vines and
constructed several aquarium ponds that have native fish.
The UCM is decorated throughout with tens of thousands of bottles,
bottle caps, license plates, springs, motors, and "what all."
Preble used thousands of found objects, and home made inventions to
create an incredible miniature Southern town. Among the animated
exhibits you'll see are: a miniature Mardi Gras parade with Martians in
the crowd, a southern plantation next to an oil refinery, a general
store, a Cajun barbecue shack, mini golf, New Orleans jazz funeral, and
a red neck trailer court. As one walks the grounds, it becomes obvious
that this museum is a fun house built by an artist who enjoys life.
Preble is often on the premises in his studio -- he enjoys chatting with
travelers, so be sure to say hello.
Also on exhibit are collections of old radios, wacky postcards,
vintage bicycles, Southern memorabilia, folk art, pocket combs, barbed
wire, garden hoses, and old arcade machines.
has friends among the local artisans and craftsmen – this has allowed
him to stock the museum's gift shop with great handcrafted items from
some of the area’s finest craftsmen. The gift shop also has the
typical roadside attraction gifts like whoopee cushions, tee shirts,
maps, souvenirs, and local cookbooks.
Abita Springs is located across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans
and with its historic district; it may be the prettiest small town near
New Orleans. Other Abita Springs attractions include a free tourist park
with tall pines, a huge 120 year old pavilion and picnic grounds on the
Abita River, B&Bs, the Abita Brewery, bike rentals, historic
district, restaurants and shops. Bicyclists, roller-bladers, hikers,
joggers, and horseback riders can enjoy the Tammany Trace, a former
railroad line 31 miles long.
What do the letters U-C-M stand for? You-see-em. And that’s says it
all! The UCM Museum is located in the historic district of Abita
Springs, one block east of the town's only traffic light. It is open
everyday, 10-5. The address is UCM Museum, 22275 Hwy 36, Abita Springs,
LA 70420. The phone is (985) 892-2624, and the web site is