Long ago I read a book called Mr Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder. It was based on an out of the way place in LA that was around way before cabinet of curiosities reached the resurgence of coolness it now enjoys.
I have since wanted to visit the museum but to no avail for various reasons- until a recent 30 hour stint in La La Land.
An unassuming facade on Venice Boulevard, Culver City, it is a shade of green with an old brass buzzer engraved with its name, lovely and old school.
Due to my limited time & excuse of my next book, I made an appointment to view this enigma. The size of MJT is deceiving. We were greeted by Rachel who informed us that she would be leaving at 3pm with apologies. I was noon and the place appeared to be made up of just 3 rooms! Well, were we in for a surprise.
The museum is made up of two floors & roughly 20 rooms (I lost count so don’t quote me on that). Each room is intimate, dark & encourages you to look into, touch, listen or read. It is a realisation of one man’s (& his wife) vision.
The rabbit warren of rooms: part carneval, cabinet & curios, sideshow, history, circus, museum, gallery & exhibit. As you can see, it is impossible to categorise.
Each display is different with dioramas, holograms, microscopes, 3D glasses & listening devices installed for you to experience each installation in its own way. The installations are strange, intriguing & curious- but one wonders if these are historical or if they are fictional characters that have been created, philosoph-ied & imagined. Regardless, the experience is of marvel, joy, wonder, curiosity & mystery.
There is a big surprise on the top floor. You come out into a Moroccan Oasis of light after being in the dark for so long. It’s like your mind is being cleared from the huge amount of information intake downstairs and here you are cleansed and able to process all the wonderful things you have seen. There is a subtlety of colour, a bird singing in a large aviary and it is airy & light & lovely & white.
Note to self: leave plenty of time, hours disappear here.