By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Apr 12, 2015 at 11:05 AM

Phil Sklar and Brad Novak started casually collecting bobbleheads in college. Today, they have 4,000 bobbles – and expect to have 10,000 within months – and plan to open the first National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in Milwaukee in the near future.

The childhood pals grew up in Rockford, Ill. Novak first received bobbleheads while working for the minor-league baseball team the Rockford Riverhawks. The two men started to get more serious about bobblehead collecting while they were college roommates attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

"We’re both big sports fans and we collected Brewers, Bucks, Admirals (bobbleheads). Whatever we could get our hands on," says Sklar. "We always tried to get extras to trade for other bobbleheads."

Sklar and Novak started to travel the country in search of bobbleheads and today have several thousand in Novak’s condo as well as in an office space in the Grand Avenue Mall and even more in a storage facility.

"We recently had to move to a larger storage facility because the collection is growing so quickly," says Sklar.

Word has traveled quickly about the venture and Sklar says he is receiving offers to borrow or receive donated bobblehead collections every day. Many are just showing up in the mail.

"They are coming in from all over the country," he says.

The museum’s location is still in question. Sklar says, ultimately, he would like to open it in the new Bucks development, but recognizes that wouldn’t be possible for five or six years. He also says Best Place is a possibility as well as a few other Downtown locations.

RedLine Milwaukee, an art gallery and "urban laboratory" at 1422 N. 4th St, will host a bobblehead preview show from January to April of 2016.

"RedLine is a good fit for us because they focus on public school and group tours and we think it’s a great way to showcase not just the bobbleheads but the stories and creators behind them," says Sklar.

The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum will be the first of its kind in the world. The Miami Marlins baseball team houses a collection of about 600 baseball bobbles inside Marlins Park; however the Milwaukee-based museum will include bobbleheads from sports, pop culture, movies, TV and more.

"Basically anything that bobbles," says Sklar.

Sklar says the museum will focus on local bobbleheads, but will also have at least one bobble from every team that has offered them. The museum will also feature information about the history of bobbleheads and have interactive stations.

What exactly is the bobblehead appeal?

"They’re fun to collect and the majority of them were free, you can’t buy them, which adds a unique dimension to them for a lot of people," he says.

Sklar and Novak both quit full-time jobs in November to focus on the bobble venture. Sklar left a $110,000-a-year job in the corporate finance industry and, so far, has no regrets.

"We have spent a lot of time building the website and building our membership base that’s now in 30 states," he says.

Through the website, bobblehead enthusiasts can purchase a membership that provides access to the exhibit and the museum before the general public as well as other benefits. Custom-designed bobbleheads are also available.

"We took a leap of faith and so far, we’re really happy how things are going," says Sklar.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.