Sci-Fi Movie Props Coming to Warren for Potential Museum

WARREN, Ohio – A collection of movie props created by a Warren native and used in major movies has been donated to the Trumbull County Historical Society.

The props, which can be seen in blockbusters such as “Ghostbusters II” and the “Star Trek” films, will one day be displayed to the public in a new museum.

John Zabrucky created the props, which are mostly futuristic or science-fiction weapons and devices.

Throughout his career, Zabrucky worked on the sets of more than 40 films and TV shows, including several “Star Trek” movies, “X-Men,” “Ghostbusters II,” “Back to the Future II,” “Robo Cop,” “Blade Runner,” “The Incredible Hulk” and many more popular productions.

A few years after the closing of his 42-year-old Los Angeles company, Modern Props, Zabrucky decided to give back to his hometown by donating between 450 and 550 props to create an interactive museum.

“I thought, if this was done correctly it could really be the genesis of a much more important museum, and it for sure could be an economic driver,” he says.

Zabrucky says he has already sold a lot of the furniture he created at auctions. “That took care of most of the furniture,” he says. “I was holding onto most of the science-fiction props, thinking that I was going to try to get an institution to get involved with those items.”

He contacted Meghan Reed, director of the Trumbull County Historical Society, to see if she was interested.

“She acted very quickly,” Zabrucky says.

While movie props are usually made of plastic and wood, Zabrucky’s are a cut above.

“The things we did was the opposite of that,” he says.

Because of their high quality, Zabrucky says his props were often reused – sometimes dozens of times, and occasionally in different film series.

Funds permitting, Zabrucky hopes the museum will become “a welcoming venue on a number of levels” like many other museums he has seen over the years.

Reed says planning has already started on the project.

“We are looking to curate [the collection] into a sort of hands-on interactive museum for the community,” she says.

Reed is not yet sure where the museum will be or when it will open.

“One of our biggest concerns with this project is making sure that it is an economic driver to the area,” she says. “We want this to be a national tourism destination.”

The historical society is looking for a site that can not only accommodate the collection but has room for growth. The extra space would be used for traveling exhibits and a children’s center, Reed says.

But first, the Trumbull County Historical Society has to raise the funds to transport the collection from California to Warren.

“We’re hoping to do that within the next year,” Reed says.

The historical society is working with a professional exhibit design firm to develop the museum, Reed says.

“We are hoping to have the collection here within a year, and at that point we can start doing some pop-up exhibits to get the community excited,” she says.

Pictured at top: One of John Zabrucky’s sci-fi props, “The Most Important Device in the Universe,” has appeared in films, shows and commercials more than 200 times.

Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.