Baltimore's American Dime Museum, a wunderkammer in the tradition of 19th century cabinets of curiosity, is closing its doors. A public auction (also through eBay Live) for the oddities, gaffs, taxidermy, bizarre art, and sideshow artifacts will take place on Monday, February 26, at 5pm through Richard Opfer Auctioneers. The lots, browseable here, are incredible. Sadly, the museum is closing due to financial hardship. (For an excellent history of dime museums, I highly recommend the book Weird And Wonderful: The Museum In America by Andrea Stulman Dennett.)
From the Baltimore Sun:
"We're losing another great piece of Baltimore personality," says homegrown filmmaker John Waters. "It was esoteric and great and hilarious and very fitting for this city. Maybe it was just too good to be accepted by enough people."
The American Dime Museum opened in 1999, a vehicle to showcase (and justify) Horne's obsession with turn-of-the-century curiosity venues and the circus freak shows they evolved into.
Horne, 65, stands in the museum's dimly lighted front room, hands jammed into the pockets of a black leather jacket, talking about why he's giving up. In a word, it's money.
And he thought that, despite "having the best collection of human hair art anywhere," the museum would never obtain a corporate grant. "If I had a lot of money," he half-jokes, "I'm not sure I'd give it to me."