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Traveling Around - Marshall, MI - American Museum of Magic
Not a very long trip but one that enabled us to wander around Lansing, MI, while on the way and stick our noses in various and sundry thrift stores. I found four books for 90 cents and my better half spent just over a buck on a sweater that she couldn't resist.
We checked in the Quality Inn that was just off the expressway at Marshall, MI, and then proceeded to the downtown area to find something to eat. I'd corresponded with Sara Schultz, the director of the museum. She recommended a restaurant - The Broadway Grille - that was just across the street from the museum.
We got a good view of the downtown area and of the museum from the restaurant.
Marshall seems to have a vibrant busy downtown area. Many of the small businesses had their storefront decorated for the autumn and Halloween. Even on a Saturday afternoon, there seemed to be a bustling amount of activity.
The first picture gives an impression of what the three or four blocks of downtown looked like and the second is a clip of the museum located in the center of the first picture.
Annual Open House
I had read that the museum was hosting an open house on this Saturday evening and planned our trip around it.
There were knowledgeable people that conducted the open house and they were happy to discuss the history of both the museum and the exhibits.
A magician named Bob Lund and his wife Elaine started the museum. Bob was a collector of magic books, posters, apparatus, and other stuff. He established the museum in this store front building in 1978.
During the open house, a guest magician - Eric Sullivan - presented a performance that consisted mostly of parlor tricks. It was enjoyable as was the wine and snacks that were provided.
There are tools of the trade scattered throughout the museum. Many of them are smaller but two of the larger ones are pictured here. One is where a magician would saw a woman half and the other it a guillotine that was used in a beheading illusion.
One of the many sculptures is pictured here. It is of the illusion called "Levitation". In this version, the suspension of the person is on just an ordinary household broom.
Notice the posters on the wall behind the sculpture. The museum encompasses two floors and the walls of both floors are almost wallpapered with the posters. There are some very early posters through the Houdini era and into the current times with David Blaine and his street magic posters.
A more recent addition to the collection is this one. These suits were worn by Penn and Teller during a performance in Las Vegas.
We got into a friendly conversation with two magicians from the Grand Rapids area who were on the Board of Directors at the museum. They were not only fun to talk to but entertained us with the sleight of hand.
The open house is held once a year in the autumn. There is an admission charge to cover the added costs. Although the Quality Inn where we stayed indicated that admission to the museum was free, there were indications at the museum that there may have been an admission charge. There is much information on their website.
In the years since it was established the museum has grown to encompass a second building that is open only to established professional magicians. It includes a very large research file of information about the magicians. Any professional magician that had more than 3 pages of news printed about them caused a folder to be created and it is on file in the annex. There is also much memorabilia that is more than the public museum can hold.
The trip home was easy. The Quality Inn supplied breakfast and we spent 2 1/2 hours getting here.
Really enjoyable short trip. We may do it again next year.