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Dan Mindo
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Recently a friend and I had an opportunity to visit The American Museum of Magic in Marshall, Michigan. The Museum which opened its doors in 1978 was a labor of love for Bob and Elaine Lund. They managed to create something of real value for magicians and magic enthusiasts.

With much of magic’s history in the hands of private collectors there are very few public places where you will find such treasures. My expectation was that this would be a cool place to visit and it was. What I did not expect was how it would reside in my thoughts for days afterwards. For many of us magic has been a passion which has not waned throughout our lifetime.

If the previous statement describes you then you should make the trip to Marshall Michigan. You will not be disappointed. Being in this Museum with all of its history is rather strange. There are notebooks from long forgotten magicians which are rich in detail with sketches that leave you speechless.

Then there is Okito who died nearly penniless leaving behind a brown suit and a red trunk. He was buried in the brown suit but the red trunk is here, its drawers still holding on to the secrets within. You are struck by the sheer number of magicians that have passed before you. The famous and the little known, reside side by side in the Museum which slowly gives up its ghosts.

Bob Lund passed away in 1995 and for the next eleven years the Museum was managed by his wife Elaine with the able assistance of Jim Klodzen and several volunteers. Jim was named Curator three years ago as Elaine’s health started to decline. Elaine passed away earlier this year and Jim has continued the legacy of the Lund’s working with a few volunteers trying to keep pace with the donated collections which still arrive from time to time. Their task is daunting especially when you realize that none of these people are paid. They even cover their own expenses!

Funding for this important work is critical. The bottom line is that without continued funding the Museum could be in danger of going under.
If the Museum closes its doors the collection would probably wind up in the hands of private collectors. Locking these treasures away for the privileged few would be a crime.

Maybe you will never make a trip to Marshall, Michigan. But this year you will probably spend $20.00 or more on a trick that you will never perform. Why not save the drawer space and donate that money to the Museum. By doing this you will help to ensure that magic’s past will be available for future generations of magicians.

You can read more about the Museum here http://www.pub.umich.edu/daily/1999/feb/......ts1.html and here http://www.roadsideamerica.com/attract/MIMARmagic.html.

You can donate money by contacting the:

American Museum of Magic
107 E. Michigan Ave.
P.O. Box 5
Marshall, Michigan 49068

Phone: (269) 781-7570

http://www.americanmuseumofmagic.org
Marshall Thornside
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I miss going to the museum when Bob was alive.
he always, always opened the door for us
because we always came there when it was closed.

I am still waiting for Jim to find that photo
of Jay dressed as a woman.

One of these days!

I agree with Dan, a little change here and there
to a fabulous museum...one of its kind.
you will remember my name

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Marvello
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The American Museum of Magic is a real American treasure, and we are lucky to be able to continue to visit and see the amazing collection that they have!
Never criticize someone else until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Then, when you do criticize them, you will be a mile away from them and you will have their shoes.
Magiguy
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Great post, Dan. I wasn't even aware of this museum and I'll bet my eyes were not the only ones opened thanks to you. You particularly struck a chord with your comment about the $20 we'd likely spend on a trick that we'll never even use.
Jim Klodzen
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Thanks Dan for the wonderful post.

In my heart I truly believe if more magicians would visit the museum they would discover for themselves what a wonderful and important legacy Bob and Elaine left the magic world. They would discover what it really means to be a magician. I tell the stories Bob told, but from a different angle. Bob knew most of the magicians, I have to discover them through their files and let them speak to me.

When people come to visit, I try to keep the same attitude and thoughts Bob and Elaine had and treat everyone like they are the most important person in the world.

I've worked to get the second floor of the museum finished for a Grand Opening during Abbott's week, with displays of Downs, Germain, and Eddie Diijon to name a few.

I have several other project in the works, like a mini magic history conference and a weekend of magic history for youths interested in the history of magic. A newletter will start the first of 2007 focusing on the performers Bob so dearly love, the small time magicians.

Sure I've heard that it's too far, it's in the middle of no where, it needs to be moved to the east coast, west coast. I was bit 27 years ago when I visited the place for the first time. I now make the 4 hour round trip several time a month. It's still the most exciting place I've ever been and even more exciting when I get to share it with people that come in for their first visit, because I know that they will be back.

Jim Klodzen
magicmode
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Quote:
On 2006-08-08 22:28, Jim Klodzen wrote:

When people come to visit, I try to keep the same attitude and thoughts Bob and Elaine had and treat everyone like they are the most important person in the world.



And you're doing a very good job of it Jim. My first visit to the museum was in 1987 on the way home from my first Abbott's Get Together. Neil Foster was honored at the museum that Sunday and it was a very memorable event.

My latest trip was this past Sunday, also on the way home from the Get Together. I was with my girlfriend and a couple of other friends who had never seen much of the museum. We arrived a couple minutes after noon and Jim announced that he was closing up but that we could look around for a few minutes. Well, a few minutes turned into over an hour. Jim gave us a fabulous tour of the new additions upstairs and would've probably stayed all night if we didn't politely excuse ourselves for brunch. Jim's passion is as strong as Bob's and he does treat you as if your the most important person in the world. Jim went out of his way to show us around and tell some of the stories behind his newest additions. I can't wait to go back soon to spend more time exploring all of the amazing history that the museum has to offer.

To all those who have never been to the museum - you must go. Take the trip and learn about the giants of magic who have come before us. And who knows, you're probably on file in the magical library. You'd be surprised how many people are in there!

Sincerely,

Michael Mode
Jim Klodzen
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Thanks Michael!
There is a joke going around with some of the people that help me at the museum, that I have a ten minute rule. Which means if I say "ten minutes" it means, an hour and ten minutes.
Thanks so much for your contribution to the museum. This weekend it will go into your file.
Thanks!
Jim
JimMaloney
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While I'm not in the area, I did contact Jim several months ago for some research assistance. Jim took the time to look up the items for me and give me a call to describe them over phone to make sure it was what a wanted before sending copies. I can only imagine what else is buried in their files. Hopefully I'll make it out to Michigan one day -- the museum will be my first stop!

Although this reminds me...Jim, I sent you another e-mail a few weeks ago about some more material I'm looking for. Did you get it or should I re-send the info?

-Jim
Books and Magazines for sale -- more than 200 items (Last updated January 17th, 2014. Link goes to public Google Doc.)
Jim Klodzen
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Hey Jim..I emailed you will contact you next week.
JimMaloney
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Yeah, I got the e-mail -- thanks! Can't wait to see what you dig up!

-Jim
Books and Magazines for sale -- more than 200 items (Last updated January 17th, 2014. Link goes to public Google Doc.)
donsmagic
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When I lived in Michigan, I toured the museum quite often. Bob even let me video tape parts of his tour. One thing he always said is that he didn't believe in institutions, not even his own. When he died he said he wanted the collection scattered to the four corners. Whenever I heard him say that, I hoped he really didn't mean it.
andrew martin
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[quote]On 2006-08-08 23:26, magicmode wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-08-08 22:28, Jim Klodzen wrote:


To all those who have never been to the museum - you must go. Take the trip and learn about the giants of magic who have come before us. And who knows, you're probably on file in the magical library. You'd be surprised how many people are in there!

Sincerely,

Michael Mode


And go again and again
I'm always finding something new.
My son Eli just loves it
hugmagic
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I have video of the tour with Bob talking that I am sending to Bil Mcilhany to restore and put on DVD. A copy will be sent to the museum when completed.

Don, I would encourage you to do likewise. And if anyone else has footage of Bob giving the tour, lets get it archive as Bob would (or maybe not) want.

Richard
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Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
andrew martin
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How about Elaine?
I have video of her.
hugmagic
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Just convert it to DVD to make sure it is archived. I know they would love a copy.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
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andrew martin
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OK
Andrew
Clay Shevlin
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Donsmagic wrote:

“...One thing [Bob] always said is that he didn't believe in institutions, not even his own. When he died he said he wanted the collection scattered to the four corners. Whenever I heard him say that, I hoped he really didn't mean it.”

This raises a dilemma of sorts. On the one hand, it’s sad to see the evidence of someone’s lifelong dedication “scattered to the four corners.” On the other hand, knowing Bob, he probably said that because he would not have been able to build his wonderful collection had his predecessors permanently institutionalized their collections. So he understood the importance of “recycling” collectibles amongst private collectors.

I’ve grappled with the “to institutionalize or not” question for much of my collecting career (not because my collection is valuable, but rather because the subject interests me), and see the pros and cons to both sides of the argument. At this time, I tend to favor the “keep it private” approach.

Clay
silverking
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Institutions excel at making their holdings available to the public to view and enjoy, whereas private items usually dissapear for at least a generation, sometimes multiple generations.

Wittness the Leica camera collecting issue currently being endured by Leica collectors everywhere. The big money (primarily in Japan) has literally bought every important Leica camera ever made and has them secreted away in various vaults and lockers throughout Japan.
These cameras will likely never again see the light of day as Leica collectors have already discovered that the collectors of these cameras have made private accomodation for the cameras through multiple generations after their (the collectors) demise.

Yes these cameras are safe and secure, but for what use?
Nobody will likely see them again, and none of them are provided for research purposes......the word most commonly used is "hoarded", owned by sincere and dedicated collectors, but certainly not shared.

I often use the Copperfield collection as an example of what's good and bad about extremely large scale private collecting in Magic.
DC has done us either a great service, or a great diservice depending on his decisions in the coming years as to what is to happen to his collection.
It's worth remembering that although not every great effect in magics storied history is in his collection, a lot of them are.
There really isn't a collection to compare to the one DC has put together and there's no sign that he's finished yet.
There's still a couple of large and important collections he hasn't got, but he may be the only one with the money and desire to pretty much "own it all".

The upside is that all this important magic is in one place, owned by somebody who cares about it and presumably protected from various dangers that could befall it (fire, theft, etc).
The downside is hardly anybody gets to see it, although he apparently makes it available to researchers of some unknown credentials, and that none of us know what he is planning on doing with it in the future.
The magic world has already seen that not every magician maintains their interest in magic for their entire life (as per Doug Henning) and to presume that DC will always treasure this collection might be to presume to much.
Worst case scenario is that DC sells the entire collection before he dies, and sells it to a reclusive billionaire collector in China where the collection essentially dissapears for good.
Best case scenario is he creates an institution that will take care of and display the entire collection for generations to come.
Of course if DC hadn't privately collected the material in the first place, no institutional home would be possible!

For these reasons, I favour the eventual institutional protection of magics history and would hope the American Museum of Magic History keeps its collection together and available for lovers of magic everywhere to actually see and enjoy.
Marvello
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Quote:
On 2006-08-31 11:35, silverking wrote:
Of course if DC hadn't privately collected the material in the first place, no institutional home would be possible!
I am sure Ricky Jay would disagree with you on this point - Copperfield did not collect these - he assumed (ie: bought) the collections, there is a difference.

Quote:
For these reasons, I favour the eventual institutional protection of magics history and would hope the American Museum of Magic History keeps its collection together and available for lovers of magic everywhere to actually see and enjoy.
I agree. The American Museum of Magic is an amazing resource, and we are lucky that it has survived past the lives of the founders, and continues to flourish in the hands of people who still care about preserving and sharing the history of magic.
Never criticize someone else until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Then, when you do criticize them, you will be a mile away from them and you will have their shoes.
silverking
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Quote:
I am sure Ricky Jay would disagree with you on this point - Copperfield did not collect these - he assumed (ie: bought) the collections

Hi Marvello, certainly true of the initial large purchases, but DC has been adding substantially to the collection piece by piece since the initial purchase(s).

You're correct that the "bones" of the collection were formed from other collections, but I think it's become something quite different as DC has expanded it to where it is today.

There's simply nothing else close to what DC has "assembled" in chunks or pieces anywhere in the world.
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