So I am wearing a legit Suffragette jacket from the 1800s…

Nickelodean
This is a real nickelodeon from the 1900’s. I simply put in a quarter and watched the majority of Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon).

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).

 

Sound recording machine
Instead of CD burners or tape recorders, Edison cylinder phonographs were used in the late 1800’s to record sounds and music. The sounds are “stored” on the wax on the cylinder.

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.

me opening something fragile
All visitors of The Museum of Interesting Things get to open up one of his packages. I was lucky enough to open up two boxes, and my favorite box had a rare karaoke tape.

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!

 

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