This Belongs in a Museum

Once called the "Stephen Fry of Museum Blogging," this tumblog, written by a frustrated museologist, is dedicated to the small, random museums and weird attractions of the world. Always informative, usually funny, sometimes offensive.

Bringing you museum-approved grammatical errors and typos since 2010.

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On this day 80 years ago, America’s first official Public Enemy Number One John Dillinger was shot to death by FBI agents as he exited the Biograph Theater in Chicago after seeing the Clark Gable gangster film Manhattan Melodrama. At FBI headquarters in Virginia there is a collection of firearms that were captured from the real Dillinger gang (that also includes Dillinger’s death mask as well as the hat, clothes, sunglasses and cigar he had when he died). And there’s more to it than that as the FBI laboratory’s reference firearms collection houses nearly every gun ever made (numbering 7,000 in total), more than 15,000 types of ammunition, and accessories like suppressors and muzzle attachments. Some unusual items include a pistol hidden in the cut out pages of an early edition of Gone With The Wind as well as a submachine gun hidden in a guitar case. The gun collection was created in 1933, a year after the FBI launched the Technical Crime Laboratory, a forerunner to today’s FBI Lab. Their mission was to apply a scientific standard to criminal investigations by comparing evidence against reference collections of known samples. Although some of the items are museum quality, this collection is ever-expanding and hands-on as examiners study, take apart, reassemble, and test weapons to support their investigations.

I have a confession to make - I have never eaten at White Castle. I know, I know. Possibly the worst thing someone can do while living in America. Maybe the government should kick me out or something. Anyway, I bet you didn’t know the restaurant has a Cravers Hall of Fame, a shrine for lovers of the company’s slider. I also bet you didn’t know “The Godfather of Shock Rock” Alice Cooper loves White Castle sliders. Cooper is such a fan of the little square hamburgers that earlier this month he showed up at the company headquarters in Columbus, Ohio to be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame. Apparently nearly 10,000 people have tried to get in, but only 170 have been inducted so I guess it’s quite an honor. But it’s not surprising to learn some of the other inductees include John Cho and Kal Penn, aka Harold and Kumar from Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle (which was released 10 years ago this month so make sure to celebrate accordingly). Congrats, Alice! You are now an official member of not just the ridiculous memorial known as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (which has yet to induct Kraftwerk, T. Rex, the Sonics, Pixies, Joy Division, Captain Beefheart, the New York Dolls…I could go on…) but also the freakin’ Cravers Hall of Fame. Maybe the Beer Can Hall of Fame is next?

(Image Source 1 & 2)

A lot like the Bread and Puppet Museum in Vermont, Glasgow’s historic Victorian Mitchell Library has its own creepy puppet collection, which was created by puppet-master, director, and designer John M. Blundall. He amassed a collection of puppets, masks, toys, prints, and books over a fifty-year period from puppetry’s earliest days to the modern era. Blundall produced more than 80 major multimedia puppet theatre productions, so he’s kind of like the character Craig Schwartz at the end of Being John Malkovich when he lives inside Malkovich and becomes a successful puppeteer. Oh, no did I ruin the movie for you? Anyway, the museum has examples from ancient Japan, India, the New World and Continental Europe including the famous “Punch and Judy” marionettes, which were two popular puppets who evolved from the sixteenth-century Italian art of commedia dell’arte. They often brawled with one another and engaged in loud, noisy interactions, which tended to upset small children. The exhibit is called "The World Through Wooden Eyes", which sounds like the name of a really bad horror flick. Oh, and it has a Facebook too (thanks for all the terrifying photos), which I won’t be liking anytime soon nor will I be sharing it with anyone who is inflicted with Pupaphobia (fear of puppets). Because this is literally the stuff of nightmares, I wonder if I am a pupaphobe? Maybe I watched too much Pinocchio as a child? Also, I wonder if Kim Kardashian will ever be part of the collection? I mean, she’s got that unblinking, frozen gaze down cold.