Happy to be a 56.1 miler ..
Screw the term
40 miler. I was going "all out"; Iím taking the museum of
curiosities on the road.
The Museum of
Curiosities is the public side of my personal collection, a
collection that has been busting at the seams almost since I
started it. With little space left in the glass front cabinet in
the kitchen, and things piled up in the office, I have decided
that this collection needed a larger home, or at least for now a
chance to come my way was at Arisia, a science fiction fantasy
convention just outside of Boston. Having no experience in this
sort of thing, I thought the best idea would be to just jump
right in, both feet, sink or swim I was going for it.
is in the theatre, I had been a scenic designer, lighting
designer, pyro-technition, and prop master in my years in the
professional theatre, but this would be different, this
"theatrical presentation" would have me as the face of it, not
hiding safely back stage. Still I thought I could manage to come
up with an entertaining, "entertainment" for lack of a better
first, what is it Iím trying to do? Here is where the theatre
background comes inÖ its all about the show, if the two
vocations, museum curator, and thespian had anything in common
it was the presentation elements, and with my museum the "show"
was to be as important as the product, or the items Iím showing.
head, and asking my better half, and we settled on "Eight Corner
Globe" as the production company name, as it sounded "slightly
off" and generated an easy to visualize image, that I thought
would evoke the "olden days" you know, that vague era of "days
gone by" not as old as "ye olden days" but not new as yesterday.
Once a name was settled upon, a snappy logo design to sell the
image was easy enough.
Next came the hard part, who the hell am I to present mysteries
and curiosities from the eight corners of the globe? Seemed like
Scott doesnít hold a position of mystery let alone authority, so
Professor Badger was born. Prof. Badger can speak with authority
on most any subject, and is an expert in all things fantastic.
In other words, my new persona had no problem with a bold faced
lie if needed. My Girl Friday became Elle Emenope (say it fast)
with long legs, short shorts, top hat and tails, she became my
outside talker. If she couldnít stop a wandering crowd, no one
With only a
couple of weeks since committing to attending the event, I had
to get my ass in gear. Display cases had to be built, official
letterhead, and signage had to be designed, and letís face it,
funny facial hair had to be grown. The professor is nothing
without a split beard to hide behind.
Ms. Elle got to work
with the design of the signage, coming up with a swell logo,
which vaguely evoked the feel of a 70ís science club, and also
created many smaller signs to identify all of the curiosities on
display. Most items got a simple cardstock sign with a minimal
bit of information, such as the snakes retrieved from the
stomach of a "chronic snake eater" (it just sounded like it
would cause the masses to squirm, vague enough for them to
create their own stories) Other items got the full treatment, a
nice framed story on museum stationary, mounted with photos and
supporting documents. But I think the smartest bit of work, took
no work at all. We had decided that not everything needed an
explanation, let us leave the viewer to wonder, and after all,
with fewer details presented, I was free to make stuff up on a
While Ms. Elle
worked her magic on the presentation details, I went to work on
the actual collection. I pulled most of the items form my
personal collection, and made a few more especially for the
never curated a museum of any sort, I feel unrestrained to
follow any formal rules, or logic. I created cabinet displays
loosely linked, showing an evolving story, from mild to wild,
interweaving both real and imagined curiosities. What would the
general population be interested in? Would they be interested at
all? I had no idea if this antiquated form of entertainment
would fly in todayís world of fast paced internet, and video
games. I know I would be interested, but what about the average
convention attendant? Looking to test out my layout, I did what
anyone looking to study the prurient nature of man would do. I
staged a quick preview with my mother, (a nurse) her husband (a
retired cop) and my nieces (two 11 year olds). Admittedly not
the perfect demographic slice, it would have to do. My little
survey proved to be quite valuable, the size of type on the
signage would be made larger, the actual displays made sturdier,
but the interest level of the items seemed to be spot on. I
answered a few questions and felt somehow obligated to me honest
when questioned by my mother, but immediately saw the value and
opportunity to augment a story when needed.
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