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The World's Strangest Museum

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According to folklore, two dead mice on toast will cure a variety of ailments; this rather macabre (and completely unappetising) treatment was displayed in a glass cabinet at The Museum of Jurassic Technology in California. Other exhibits at this wayward museum have included a ‘Child’s Caul’, a membrane that covers the face of some infants and allegedly imbues them with the power of second sight. Another display shows miniature sculptures (mounted on pinheads) created by the Egyptian-Armenian violinist Hagop Sandaldjian that are only visible under a magnifying glass. Working under a microscope, and using sharpened needles tipped with ruby or diamond dust, Sandaldjian fashioned these masterpieces of ‘microminiature sculpture’ which include a model of Napoleon small enough to ride an ant.

The museum is a liminal boutique of the peculiar that exists in the nebulous nether region between the flaming globe of fact and the giggling ocean of fiction. It was set up by the unfathomable David Hildebrand Wilson and his equally enigmatic wife Diana Drake Wilson, and was the subject of the best-titled book in history: ‘Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet Of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Technology’. What is meant by ‘Jurassic Technology’, or, to be precise, ‘lower Jurassic technology’, has never been explained – but then who wants everything explained? A slide-show at the museum tells us that the word ‘museum’ originally meant ‘a spot dedicated to the muses’, where visitors can transcend the everyday, so perhaps this is a museum in the original sense of the word. The museum also shows that, in our strange and surprising universe, there is no such thing as the ‘everyday’, something we all need reminding of now and again.

The Museum of Jurassic Technology, 9341 Venice Blvd, Culver City, California

Coming soon: The Strangest Museum in London

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