Have you ever been to a museum and wanted to touch that item collecting dust inside of the Plexiglas box? Don’t deny that this thought has crossed your mind. As a DC denizen who loves visiting the Smithsonian as much as the next person, I was curious about how some of these artifacts work.
Well, the unthinkable happened, and I tinkered with items that could not normally be touched by non-curator hands. In early February, I visited the Museum of Interesting Things before I moseyed on by to New York Fashion Week (I kind of wish I wore this suffragette jacket to the event, but oh well).
Denny Daniel is the curator of the Museum of Interesting Things (which is really just his three-room flat on the umpteenth floor of this nice apartment complex). I didn’t know that you can run a museum inside of your home, but Denny makes this experience into a novelty. Not only does Denny explain what each item is in his house; he also let me play with those items. I felt a responsibility to handle these rarities with care as I toured his abode. Trust is what makes this museum peerless to similar yet “uncluttered” establishments in the NYC area.
I could freely watch a movie on his nickelodeon, wear a suffragette jacket, and record sound on an actual Edison cylinder phonograph. Active participation is what makes this museum a rare treat.
After the tour of the museum, I was given this rare opportunity to open up one of his packages and have my reaction filmed for his future YouTube channel. Previous visitors have unearthed 8-track players, foghorns, Kodak box cameras, and all sorts of hidden treasures from the past.
This experience was the closest I have ever had to being a curator at a museum. I learned so much about the early history of film and audio technology, and I was able to have a deeper appreciation of how far technology has come from what early Americans have created.
Interested in sharing the same experience I had? E-mail Denny Daniel at DennyDanielx@gmail.com for more information. You will have some great conversational fodder to share with friends and family after coming here!