Written by: Gabrielle S. Vasquez Bates
Edited by: Adina Vega and Jenny Roach
A long time ago in a galaxy far away (California), George Lucas created what would become some of the most iconic characters in pop culture. With newer Star Wars projects, like The Mandalorian, new fans are being introduced to this phenomenon. But for some, the love of Star Wars extends beyond the screen and into collectibles.
The library at Rancho Obi-Wan.
Steve Sansweet took his love of Star Wars and his collection and turned it into a museum. Rancho Obi-Wan is said to be the world’s most extensive collection of Star Wars memorabilia. Steve began showing his personal collection in 1998 as a novelty for friends and family. Steve’s job as Director of Content Management and Head of Fan Relations at Lucas Films helped him to build this collection. After his retirement in 2011, he established Rancho Obi-Wan, Inc. to share with other fans.
Steve Sansweet battles Darth Vader at Rancho.
Rancho Obi-Wan is a non-profit and 100% fan supported. Membership kits are $55 a year and include free access to the virtual museum, a collectible patch that changes yearly, a personalized membership card, exclusive member merchandise offers, discounted tour tickets, and museum perks. All memberships are entirely tax-deductible.
The Board of Directors is made up of die-hard Star Wars fans. For instance, Anne Neumann, President and CEO of Rancho Obi-Wan, helped create a database management system for the Rancho collection. Her system allowed Steve to write Star Wars: The Ultimate Action Figure Collection. Gus Lopez, the vice president, created the Star Wars Collectors Archive, a virtual museum of rare Star Wars memorabilia. Other board members have written Star Wars-related books, helped give docent tours, and continued to expand their collections. Cataloging the Rancho Obi-Wan collection is difficult since Steve continually adds to it. At last count, it was said to contain an estimated 500,000 collectibles. The Guinness World Records dubbed Steve’s Star Wars collection the largest in the world.