Thursday, September 27, 2012

Museum Day Outcast #3: Fluorescent Museum

The world's first museum of fluorescence is a hippie-trippy treat. It's called Electric Ladyland, and it radiates in Amsterdam. Even if you didn't eat a space cake before arriving, you're gonna feel like it, as grey-ponytailed artist and owner Nick Padalino takes you to his gallery/shop's basement and shows you all kinds of glow-in-the-dark objects, from psychedelic sculptures to luminescent rocks.

Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles' 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' and other tunes play on the stereo while you learn about the naturally fluorescent rabbit, and wow your friends with the fact that the most fluorescent place on earth is…drum roll…New Jersey, USA (lots of incandescent minerals in the ground there).

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Museum Day Outcast #2: DEA Museum

DEA's homemade bong collection
Beaded necklaces + bongs = trouble
DEA agent's undercover snakeskin shoes in Detroit circa 1970
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Museum in Arlington, Virginia, is not exactly known for its nuance. Tucked in the lobby of the US agency tasked with fighting drug use and smuggling, it wags a pointy finger. "Everything associated with drugs is bad! Everyone associated with them should go to jail for a long time!" the exhibits practically scream.

Then again, it's the only federal museum in the country with a homemade bong collection. Exhibits on hippies, head shops and drug dealer fashion supplement the pipes.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Museum Day Outcast No. 1: Ventriloquist Museum

Kenny Talk
September 29 is National Museum Day (sponsored by Smithsonian Magazine). In the run-up to the big event, I'm going to pay homage to some institutions you won't see on the list.

First up: the Vent Haven Ventriloquist Museum in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky (just outside Cincinnati, Ohio). Jeepers creepers! When you first glimpse the roomful of goggle-eyed wooden heads staring mutely into space, I dare you not to run screaming for the door. (If you’ve seen Magic, you know what dummies are capable of.)

Woody DeForest
Local William Shakespeare Berger started the museum after amassing a collection of some 700 dolls. Today Jacko the red-fezzed monkey, white-turtleneck-clad Woody DeForest and the rest of the crew sit silently throughout three buildings. Lest you think the entertainment form is history, stop by in July, when the annual conVENTion takes place and 400 ventriloquists arrive with their talkative wooden pals.