Bumblebee isn’t a very imposing name. But at 17 feet tall and weighing one ton, Bumblebee the Transformer is quite an imposing figure. Built as a prop for the 2007 movie Transformers, the Bumblebee that now greets visitors in The Children’s Museum’s Welcome Center is a source of delight for Transformers fans of all ages.

Since their first appearance in 1984, the Transformers have been a constant presence in Japan (where they originated), the United States (where they proliferated), and elsewhere around the world. Bumblebee has been a key figure in the Transformers universe since the animated series debuted; a member of the Autobot faction, he can transform into a Chevrolet Camaro (which accounts for the crumpled California license plate he sports as a sort of belt buckle). From their start as an animated television series, the Transformers quickly became a worldwide phenomenon spawning comic books, books, video games, toys, and movies.

Bumblebee took up residence in the Welcome Center in March 2011, serving as a reminder of the fascination that the Transformers continue to hold for anyone who has dreamed of having a powerful friend who can battle bullies then provide a ride home. In the summer of 2012, the museum premiered a Bumblebee transformation program featuring a specially designed costume, bringing Bumblebee to life for children and families.