Thursday, November 05, 2015

Since that last "museum open" announcement over a year ago, the museum has emigrated from its original location in San Mateo and is relocating to Portland, Oregon.  It is currently squeezed into a 6'x13' space under the east ramp of Hawthorne Bridge over the Willamette River.

A new email list has been created, so if you want updates to appear in your emailbox, send a note to If you are Facebook-centric, head here and like it!

The museum participates in First Friday - Portland's Eastside Artwalk and welcomes visitors every first Friday of the month.  Each month has a theme and November's is "Collections." Museums have traditionally been founded on collections, and the Zymoglyphic Museum is no different.  The curator's childhood museum forms its historical core - rocks, shells, marine animals, stamps, and many others. Some of the current collections are direct descendants of those originals. 

See here for the full story on the collections and here for information about the events.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Museum Open May 10-11

The Zymoglyphic Museum in San Mateo will be OPEN to visitors this coming weekend!

Saturday, May 10 - 11 AM to 5 PM
Sunday, May 11 - 12 noon to 4 PM

Our arachnid interns have been scurrying around, polishing the cobwebs to a nice dusty gleam in preparation for swinging open the rust-laden doors and letting in the bright spring sunshine!  The resident crustaceans are preening their exoskeletons for your viewing pleasure, the mermaids are gaily sprucing themselves up, and little eyeballs are popping up like mushrooms everywhere!

See directions here:

It is about a 15 minute walk from the Hillsdale Caltrain station, should you prefer to go that route.

Admission is free!

More info at

Monday, February 10, 2014

News and Notes: Personal Museums on the March!

Kaolithic exhibit, Bailey Museum

"Reliquary of St. Igge", Bowery Museum 

Miniature study with curiosity cabinet in peephole gallery
Marcus Kelli Collection

Our roving reporter presents breaking news on the museum-as-art-project front in the SF Bay Area...Clayton Bailey, whose Wonders of the World Museum had been in storage for nearly four decades, opened his own museum last summer, situated in the charming little town of Crockett...The museum contains a recreation of the old exhibits as well as a mad scientist lab, robots, ceramic gargoyles, and demonic pottery...This space recently visited the Bailey Museum and presented Clayton with some ZM lit...A museum twofer is to be had at the Alter Space gallery in San Francisco...The artist (and gallery co-owner) known as  Koak is building the Bowery Museum in the gallery space as a complement to her work-in-progress graphic novel...Currently showing in Alter Space's peephole gallery are dioramas and specimens from Danielle Schlunegger's Marcus Kelli Collection and Museum (on view until Feb. 22)...Both museums predicted by this space to have great futures...In the South Bay, Beverly Rayner brings her  Museum of Mesmerism & Psychic Art to the Triton Museum in Santa Clara later in February...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Book Arts Jam 2013

The museum will once again be trundling down the Peninsula from San Mateo to Palo Alto, bringing its roadshow to the annual Book Arts Jam on October 19!

The Zymoglyphic Museum Press will have available the full range of its publications as well as a selection of prints from the series Views of the Zymoglyphic Region.

The Zymoglyphic Postal Service will be well represented by a selection of postcards, a sample of which may be seen here.

This event takes place at the Lucie Stern Community Center, 1305 Middlefield in Palo Alto, from 10 AM to 4  PM, and features a fine survey of local book and print artists.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Museum at the Maker Faire

Two of San Mateo's great cultural attractions will be joining forces as the Zymoglyphic Museum trundles its roadshow 15 blocks up El Camino Real to the Maker Faire!  The Faire's annual mass outcropping of creativity takes over the county fairgrounds this coming weekend!

The museum's focus will be to encourage those who find themselves in possession of disorganized detritus to make their own museum out of it.  We feel that the personal museum is a woefully underused form of creative expression!

We will be sharing space with the Bellybutton Museum, which is currently curating a collection of navel photographs.   More information on that project here.

We will be located in the Fiesta Building, Wing B.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Open Days at the Museum - May 4th and 5th

The Zymoglyphic Museum will once again be open for a skeptical public to see the museum's exhibits, dioramas, and environs in person the first weekend in May.  That's May 4th and 5th from 11 AM to 5 PM as part of Silicon Valley Open Studios.  New this year will be a fine selection of post cards which will serve as convenient and economical souvenirs of your visit, as well a new modern art gallery! There will also be a full assortment of publications and prints available.  Contact the museum if you wish to have a specific print available when you arrive.

You will also be able to see the pinhole photography, pinhole cameras, artist's books, and other wonders of Judith Hoffman

The carless (or others so inclined) may wish to hoof it from from the Hillsdale train station, which is about a 15 minute walk away.  See directions here.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Zymoglyphic Art of the Modern Age - New Gallery!

The museum is proud to announce the completion of its new Art of the Modern Age gallery. Measuring just under a square foot, this miniature temple of modernism is snugly sited on a shelf under the museum's lone windowsill. It replaces the dilapidated shoebox art galleries and features found art (including examples from the Natural Modernist school) and miniature works from the Biomorphic movement.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

An Invisible Museum

The essence of a museum is arguably its physical location and its tangible collections.  You may see with your own eyes, for example, the full original of a painting you have only dimly glimpsed in black-and-white in an art textbook,  or marvel at ancient artifacts from vanished civilizations. 

However, we are also interested in literary museums, those that consist only of words and whose construction is unencumbered by the laws of physics.

Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities imagines Marco Polo spinning tales for Kublai Khan about the metaphysical communities that he has encountered in his travels around the Kublai's vast empire. 

One of these cities has a museum and here is its story:


In the centre of Fedora, that grey stone metropolis, stands a metal building with a crystal globe in every room. Looking into each globe, you see a blue city, the model of a different Fedora. These are the forms the city could have taken if, for one reason or another, it had not become what we see today. In every age someone, looking at Fedora as it was, imagined a way of making it the ideal city, but while he constructed his miniature model, Fedora was already no longer the same as before, and what had until yesterday a possible future became only a toy in a glass globe.

The building with the globes is now Fedora's museum: every inhabitant visits it, chooses the city that corresponds to his desires, contemplates it, imagining his reflection in the medusa pond that would have collected the waters of the canal (if it had not been dried up), the view from the high canopied box along the avenue reserved for elephants (now banished from the city), the fun of sliding down the spiral, twisting minaret (which never found a pedestal from which to rise).

On the map of your empire, O Great Khan, there must be room both for the big, stone Fedora and the little Fedoras in glass globes. Not because they are all equally real, but because all are only assumptions. The one contains what is accepted as necessary when it is not yet so; the others, what is imagined as possible and, a moment later, is possible no longer.

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, 1972; translated by William Weaver

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Museum Press at the Book Arts Jam!

The Zymoglyphic Museum Press will be setting up shop at the Book Arts Jam on Saturday, Oct. 20 in Palo Alto, Calif. The event, which in previous years had been hosted at Foothill College, has moved this year to the Lucie Stern Community Center, located at 1305 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto. The Jam will run from 10 AM to 4 PM.

Books will of course be the main focus, and there will also be a selection of prints from the series Views of the Zymoglyphic Region available.

New this year: postcards (example above) and postage stamps from the newly-inaugurated Zymoglyphic Postal Service!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

H.P. Lovecraft visits the museum

Our museum's doughty research department has been busying itself recently sifting through the lower strata of the archives.  They have uncovered evidence that famous literary personages have visited the museum at various points in its long and varied history.  This past St. Patrick's Day, for example, we published an account of James Joyce's visitation

The researchers have found,  to their unspeakable horror, that H.P. Lovecraft seems to have passed this way many decades ago, his blasphemous reportage leaving a hideous trail of gibbering, luminescent slime dripping from the vitrines, eating its way into the shadow-bound heart of our innocent museum. His comments:

There were lumpish hybrid things which only fantasy could spawn, moulded with devilish skill, and coloured in a horribly life-like fashion...gorgons, chimaeras, dragons, cyclops, and all their shuddersome congeners...hideous parodies on forms of organic life we know...others seemed taken from feverish dreams of other planets and other galaxies....the vaulted museum chamber—an evil-looking crypt lighted dimly by dusty windows set slit-like and horizontal in the brick wall on a level with the ancient cobblestones of a hidden courtyard.  Other things in the dismal crypt were less describable—isolated parts of problematical entities whose assembled forms were the phantoms of delirium.

from "The Horror in the Museum" by H. P. Lovecraft and (as?) Hazel Heald, 1932
Book cover from Monster Brains

A full index to literary visitors maybe seen here