Rancho Obi-Wan
©Geek Crusade

There’s an episode of How I Met Your Mother,  where Marshal (Jason Segel) tries to convince Ted (Josh Radnor) that he can’t marry his girlfriend Stella because she has never watched Star Wars. Ted is unconvinced at first, but after re-watching Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), he declares: “Ok, if Stella doesn’t like this movie, I can’t marry her.”

If you’re like Ted, then you really need to visit Rancho Obi-Wan, home to the world’s largest private collection of Star Wars memorabilia. It’s where Gillian and I went on Friday, and it is completely FRICKING AWESOME. Here’s a small taste of what we experienced:

First established by president and CEO Steve Sansweet in 1998 in an old chicken coop (!), Rancho Obi-Wan is the comprehensive Star Wars fan experience. Sansweet, the former Director of Content Management and head of Fan Relations at Lucasfilm, has been collecting for almost four decades, and knows just about everything there is to know about the six Star Wars movies. He estimates that the collection itself has about (deep breath) 300,000 itens.

Today, Rancho Obi-Wan sits in a 9,000 sq ft building in Petaluma, halfway between San Francisco and San Anselmo, where Star Wars creator George Lucas lives. We were fortunate enough to be part of a three-hour guided tour led by Steve, which had everything a fan could possibly ask for: original props from the movies, merchandise from every corner of the globe, fan art, trivia and even a toilet filled with Star Wars collectibles called the Great Pit of Carkoon, after the pit on the planet Tatooine where Han Solo was almost executed.

Rancho Obi-Wan is literally beyond words, with one awesome item after another, till you’re dragging your jaw along the floor. Here’s a small selection of images from our visit.

Look out for our full album of photos from Rancho Obi-Wan, coming up soon on our Facebook page. We’ll also have an interview with Steve, coming up in our A Chat With…series.

In the meantime, we’re getting ready for the third and final Star Wars pit stop of our trip tomorrow – the Course of the Force charity relay run. Can’t wait to put on my costume!

What do you think of Rancho Obi-Wan? Leave us comment below and tell us your thoughts.

Most of the images in this post were taken or recorded with a Nikon 1 V2