The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities is one man's antidote to the modern museum, that man being Viktor Wynd - a 'pataphysicist, writer, curator, collector, dealer, dilettante, naturalist and antiquarian'. As a founder member of The Last Tuesday Society in London, their rough mission statement is that it "seeks to create a new world filled with beauty, wonder and the imagination" So that gives some clue as to what the the museum will be like...
“I’m so bored of contemporary museums and their desperate attempt to classify and make sense of everything,” Wynd says. “The world is one big, glorious mess and we should celebrate that.”
I'm indebted to The Guardian for putting me onto this path towards 11 Mare Street, Hackney, and from their article I've gone poking and prodding around the website for the project, and have even giggled and chucked some money at the Kickstarter campaign.
Who can fail to have their interest roused by this:
"The Museum will present an incoherent vision of the world displayed through wonder enclosed within a tiny space, no attempt is made at classification and comprehensiveness, instead the museum focuses on the pre-enlightenment origins of the museum as Wunderkabinett – a mirror to a world so suffused with miracles and beauty that any attempt at categorization is bound to fail. "
And when you find that the permanent collection contains:
Silly books, stone axes, unidentifiable worms, the front bottom of an 18th-century prostitute, McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys, every single British Butterfly, Napoleon’s Death Mask, a casket containing some of the original darkness Moses called down upon earth....
If you aren't a little intrigued at that, then the great news is that the £3 entry fee will also get you a cup of tea (insert a grumble here about the price of a brew alone in many museum and gallery cafes) so there's no real loss if you have a gander. The museum will combine an existing art gallery of some renown, the new area with the museum collection, a 'tiny' cafe and bar, and a 'minute' shop.
Although they have reached the Kickstarter target at the time of writing, it's worth donating (You have until Nov 1st 2014!) as the rewards are pleasantly appropriate to the donation. £5 gets you admission for one, your name on the donor's wall and a thank you card with a kiss in the post. Or you can give £250, and they'll put someone else's name in the lavatory bowl for you. My favourite part of the Kickstarter? I admire any institution who lists these as their priorities:
1. Finish building The Wunderkabinett, install, light, label & present our wonders
2. hire a Literary Director to program the lecture series
3. fund the exhibitions program.
4. build the disabled loo
5. develop London's most baroque cocktail menu
A newly published book looks at similar folks and places with similar tastes in collecting or presenting the bizarre or perfectly ordinary in a loving way. "Wynd takes readers on a tour of homes, private collections and museums that share his fondness for things arcane, desiccated, antique, or just plain odd."
Suffice it to say, my copy is ordered, and will probably join The Museum of Baked Beans, Bollocks to Alton Towers et al on my shelves.
Expect a review in the future, once I can get a road trip organised...