Desktop museum for sale contains dinosaur bones, "space gems," and sliver of Steve Jobs' turtleneck

The Mini Museum is a small, self-contained cabinet of curiosity in a lucite box. This third edition contains such wonders as a Spinosaurus bone, rotor from a WWII Enigma machine, sliver of one of Pelé's soccer balls, and a tiny swatch from Steve Jobs' turtleneck. It's $300 (or $129 for a smaller collection). Maybe the next edition will come with Madonna's pap smear! Creator Hans Fex writes:

In 1977, my father was a research scientist and a Director at the National Institutes of Health. Growing up, we had a subscription to every great science magazine - and living near Washington DC we visited the Smithsonian museums and saw dinosaur bones, meteorites, and rockets almost every weekend. My father kept an amazing collection of artifacts at his lab and also at home.

After a trip to Malta, he returned with some artifacts which he embedded into epoxy resin. I had never seen this done before and it was beautiful.

Then, all at once, I saw it... A grand collection within a manageable space that I could share with others.

(via Uncrate)

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New museum all about failure to open in Sweden

What do "Bic for Her" pens, electric facial rejuvenation mask, and Trump: The Game have in common? They were all bizarre and ridiculous commercial products that tanked in the marketplace. This summer, the Museum of Failure will open in Helsingborg, Sweden to celebrate such bumbles and fumbles, along with other products that were bested by competition or simply too ahead of the times for their own good. The curator is Samuel West, a psychologist who studies the science of creativity. From Smithsonian:

"I got tired of all of this glorifying of success, especially within the domain of innovation where 80 to 90 percent of all projects fail," he tells Smithsonian.com. Perhaps as a way to counter the trumpets of success, he started collecting products that represented failure. He says he had no purpose at first, but thought that it was a fun hobby...

Technological gadgets that failed are a big category at the museum. "I could open a whole museum with only smartphones," West says. But other industries are good at making duds as well. Colgate tried to sell beef lasagna. Harley Davidson marketed a perfume.

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50 Museums to Blow Your Mind

I like museums. I like having my mind blown. I am clearly part of the target audience for this book.

Other things I appreciate about this book: It’s a manageable size, slightly larger than a postcard. It features a diverse range of museums, both major institutions and lesser-known, more eccentric collections. Its tone and faux Q-and-A format are breezy; the authors are like interesting friends who always have the best vacation stories. And like so many Lonely Planet books, it’s eminently flip-through-able.

My favorite section is on quirky museums: those passion projects of eccentric individuals that produce, say, a Turkish collection of women’s hair, or the Japanese museum of instant ramen. I’d love to see this section expanded, at the expense of the more standard museum picks. Yes, the British Museum and the Acropolis are amazing destinations, but they’re also very widely known already. The Watermelon Museum? Less so.

Another suggestion for the next edition, due out in 2020, is greater geographical reach. For one thing, the book includes only one museum in Africa. By 2020, I hope, I’ll have made it to all of the museums in this edition that I’ve bookmarked (or, more accurately, sticky note-d).

50 Museums to Blow Your Mind by Ben Handicott and Kalya Ryan Lonely Planet 2016, 128 pages, 7.0 x 0.5 x 4.7 inches, Paperback $8 Buy on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink. Read the rest

Help the Smithsonian transcribe Phyllis Diller's jokes

Legendary comedian Phyllis Diller used a "gag file" to organize her jokes. The steel cabinet held more than 50,000 index cards, each with one joke on it. She filed them by subject, in alphabetical order. In 2003, Diller donated the archive to the Smithsonian and they need help transcribing them into a digital database. From the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History:

Digital volunteers will be able to browse through all of the joke cards, transcribe any cards that make them chuckle, and review cards transcribed by other volunteers. Anyone can volunteer to help us transcribe Phyllis Diller's jokes, or any other project across the Smithsonian. Thanks to the efforts of volunteers like you, researchers and fans around the world will soon be able to explore, share, and enjoy the jokes of Phyllis Diller.

From CBC Radio:

"On my honeymoon I put on a peekaboo blouse. My husband peeked and booed."

Diller's style was self-deprecating. She made jokes about her appearance, about a (fictional) sexless marriage, about her miserable cooking (which in real life was actually very good.) She knew she was playing a character and it made her wealthy, but it doesn't mean the jokes she gave to the Smithsonian still work today.

I asked (Smithsonian Transcription Center's) Meghan Ferriter if any of the volunteers are cringing at the subject matter.

"Well, there actually are a number of jokes that really represent the historical context and cultural values and other forms of social relationships at the time. Some of our volunteers have surfaced them, and really have the opportunity to engage with, kind of critically reflecting on why that was acceptable humour at the time, why that made people amused."

Help transcribe the Phyllis Diller Gag File (Smithsonian Digital Volunteers via Neatorama)

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Inside the Cup Noodles museum

In Yokohama, Japan, there is a museum dedicated to Cup Noodles (カップヌードル), the iconic brand of instant ramen created in 1971 by Momofuku Ando. Just looking at photos of the place jacked up my sodium levels. From Sam Graham's trip report in Juxtapoz:

In Japan, there is a museum for everything: parasites, toto toilets and... ramen. We chose the latter and visited the Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama to explore the art and history behind this cheap and convenient meal. This included a life-sized silver sculpture of Nissin founder Momofuku Ando, numerous artistic interpretations on the Cup Noodles theme, and of course the historic wall of ramen through the years.

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Metropolitan Museum of Art makes more than 375,000 public domain images available as CC0

The Met's collection contains over 375,000 images of art in the public domain; they've made these directly searchable and browseable, there's a Github repo of metadata, integration with the Creative Commons search tool, and extensive collaboration with Wikimedia and GLAM Wiki. Read the rest

Weasel electrocuted at CERN to go on museum display

Last April, a weasel-like stone marten jumped a substation fence at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland and was promptly electrocuted. Now, that same poor creature's corpse is going on display at the Rotterdam Natural History Museum in an exhibition titled Dead Animal Tales. From The Guardian:

The stone marten is the latest dead animal to go on display at the museum. It joins a sparrow that was shot after it sabotaged a world record attempt by knocking over 23,000 dominoes; a hedgehog that got fatally stuck in a McDonalds McFlurry pot, and a catfish that fell victim to a group of men in the Netherlands who developed a tradition for drinking vast amounts of beer and swallowing fish from their aquarium. The catfish turned out to be armoured, and on being swallowed raised its spines. The defence did not save the fish, but it put the 28-year-old man who tried to swallow it in intensive care for a week....

“We want to show that no matter what we do to the environment, to the natural world, the impact of nature will always be there,” (museum director Kees) Moeliker said. “We try to put a magnifying glass on some fine examples. This poor (stone marten) literally collided with the largest machine in the world, where physicists collide particles every day. It’s poetic, in my opinion, what happened there.”

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Short film on Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum

San Antonio, Texas has what is probably the world's largest collection of toilet seat art under one roof: Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum. Take a couple of minutes to enjoy Wes Plate's profile of a charming old guy's lifelong hobby. Read the rest

Save the Ruby Slippers!

The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History launched a Kickstarter project to save Dorothy's Ruby Slippers in their collection from further deterioration. The museum is seeking $500,000 for "immediate conservation care and a new, state-of-the-art display case, in order to slow their deterioration and protect them from environmental harm." Federal funds support the Smithsonian's operating budget but don't cover these kinds of efforts. From Smithsonian magazine:

Today, we know that the Smithsonian’s Ruby Slippers (from the 1939 film) are a mismatched pair, with a half-size difference. To the critical eye, they’re almost underwhelming. Under low lights and displayed on a mock yellow-brick road carpet, the roughly 2,400 cellulose nitrate sequins sewn onto the heels are a duller shade of red than you might expect, and the bows are slightly different...

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The surprising spryness of fighters in 15th C armor

Paris's Musée national du Moyen Âge teamed up with The University of Geneva to make this video demonstrating the fighting techniques available to people in 15th century armor, which are much more fluid and athletic that I had presumed -- turns out you can really move in those tin cans. (via We Make Money Not Art) Read the rest

Burying the past in glass coffins: Victoria & Albert museum bans sketching in temporary exhibitions

London's Victoria and Albert Museum, one of the world's great museums devoted to material culture and design, has joined a long line of museums who've allowed the owners of loaned items for temporary exhibitions to require them to ban photography and sketching of these items. Read the rest

Watch museum visitor knock clock sculpture off wall

As with most museums, Pennsylvania's National Watch & Clock Museum has a "no touching" policy. But one couple wanted so badly to see artist James Borden's wooden clock sculpture run that they couldn't help themselves...

Museum director Noel Poirier told NBC Philadelphia that the couple reported the mishap to museum staff. The clock is undergoing repairs and will be on display again in a few months.

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A 15-year-old's new Apple museum

Alex Jason, 15, used his lawnmowing money to acquire what Cult of Mac says "is becoming one of the most significant private collections of Apple devices in the United States." Jason converted his family's basement into a museum, called the Apple Orchard, and in a couple years he plans to move it into a former library that he and his father plan to convert into the Maine Technology Museum. From Cult of Mac:

His collection includes every big Apple computer model except a rare Lisa 1. He has early portable computers, prototypes of Powerbooks, a green-plastic prototype of a Color Classic and Japanese models of early Macs. The orchard also includes Apple’s failures while Jobs was in exile as well as a computer from the company he started after, NeXT.

Alex showed off his Apple 1 (only around 170 sold and about 60 have surfaced), its keyboard adapted to a briefcase, which provided protection and may explain why all the original chips still work. The original owner, according to a story passed onto Alex, supposedly went to an IBM conference with his briefcase, opened it up and began typing. When curious conference-goers asked what he was doing, he said, “I’m typing on my personal computer.”

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Technoheritage has a property problem

"Technoheritage" is the movement to preserve vulnerable history through digitization: making detailed scans of precious places, objects and works from which they can be recovered if they are destroyed by war, climate, or other disaster. Read the rest

A place for Peanuts fans to go wild

Roppongi Hills is a very hoity-toity shopping area in Tokyo. You have to buy tickets to get into the mall! But a seven minute walk from the Roppongi subway station you will find the brand new Snoopy Museum. Now, it may be called the “Snoopy” Museum, and from the outside it looks like the Snoopy Museum …

… in fact it’s really a “Peanuts” Museum. If your response to that is “Good grief,” then please hit the back button and all of Boing Boing awaits you. But, if you’re like me and you’ve been reading “Peanuts” your whole life, this is a sublime pleasure and I look forward to visiting in October.

The museum has just opened on April 23, and its English language website says that tickets sell for a measly 1,800 yen ($16.50) if you buy them in advance, which I would since the Japanese are very well organized and obsessive about this kind of stuff:

Visitors will have the opportunity to view unique original cartoons from the collection of the Charles M. Schulz Museum. This will include large-scale works created by Mr. Schulz himself, featuring popular characters like Snoopy and Woodstock.

Every six months, the Snoopy Museum will introduce new exhibitions curated by the Charles M. Schulz Museum. These will include early comics that were drawn before Peanuts, such as his Li’l Folks cartoons, animation art, Vince Guaraldi’s jazz music from animated Peanuts cartoons, and rare vintage Peanuts memorabilia. In addition, unpublished sketches and artwork will be displayed in a section highlighting an unknown side of Schulz sure to surprise and delight even his most loyal of fans.

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Swapping faces with statues is rather disturbing

JakeMarshall91 went to a museum and face-swapped with statues. The results are strangely horrifying and wonderful.

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Magnificent mountaineering museum embedded in a summit

Above, a balcony jutting from the Messner Mountain Museum Corones that's carved out of the summit of Mount Kronplatz in Tyrol, Italy, 2,275 meters above sea level. Zaha Hadid Architects designed the mountaineering museum that is built entirely of concrete on steel scaffolding. More photos and construction time-lapse video below.

"The idea is that visitors can descend within the mountain to explore its caverns and grottos, before emerging through the mountain wall on theater side, out onto the terrace overhanging the valley far below with spectacular, panoramic views," Hadid says.

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