Sunday, December 02, 2018

Museum as Muse

The museum has welcomed a number of creative projects into its extended embrace, specifically those inspired by the exhibits and collections therein. This post is a brief survey of some recent projects (and one classic).


Back in March of this year, Owen Delaney, of Tampa, FL, flew out to Portland for the express purpose of filming a mini-documentary about the museum. Your curator bowed out of making a personal appearance, and the work, like the museum it documents, took a decidedly non-literal turn.  See the result here.



As the signs in the museum say, photography is encouraged.  It is always of interest to see what people can find in the hidden corners of the dioramas, and how they create compelling imagery out of it.  This policy has produced some spectacular results, a selection of which has been compiled here.

Spirits Under Glass

The Zymo127 project by artist-in-residence Judith Hoffman was completed back in 2013.  The project consisted of a custom-made pinhole camera, a set of dreamy photos set in the museum and inside the dioramas, and an artist's book to showcase them.  The book and camera are currently on display in the museum's library, and you can see the images here

Courtyard art

Photography at the museum does not require you to have an aesthetic eye; simply use this ready-made photo-op in the museum's forecourt.  See what you might have looked like in the Mud Age! Pairs of patrons without a third party to take their picture are encouraged to request this service from the curator.

This project made its debut in December of 2017.  It was made by the creative team of Camille Carpenter and Taylor Perris (shown here demonstrating its proper use). They are also responsible for museum entry sign, new as of this past month.

The museum's Web site has been updated and more details can be found here.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Blog revival

Like some Cretaceous arthropod, the museum has been through a long larval stage, then a relatively brief contracted pupa stage (as related in the last-but-one post). It is now fully fledged, and, to mix metaphors, rooted and blossoming on the slope of Portland's favorite extinct volcano.  The new space is much grander than any previous one, with room for larger dioramas and more collections. Since its re-opening in December of 2016, the museum has welcomed over two thousand visitors!

The web site,, has been updated with the latest information. Consult the "About" page for an overview of the new location.  The media and the blogosphere have duly taken note of the new addition to the Portland cultural landscape, and the results can be seen on the "Views of the Museum" page.

A number of zymoglyphic projects are in the works and will be rolling out in the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned!

Photo of new mermaid diorama by Judith Hoffman