The American Museum of Magic

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Guest » 08/08/06 05:15 AM

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 donate money by contacting the:

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

Phone: (269) 781-7570

Postby Guest » 08/08/06 07:27 PM

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

Postby Guest » 08/09/06 07:29 PM

Thank you for keeping up Bob and Elaines work.

I had the pleasure of visiting them and the museum when I was a newbie, still working my way through Bobos New Modern Coin Magic. Bob treated me like visiting royalty, letting me back in the stacks with his books, and performing his Guillotine with me as the victim. I had NO idea how the thing worked and my family was amazed to see a real stage illusion done not two feet from them.

Twenty years later my sister and mother would still comment on the museum in Marshal and what fun they had.

Postby Guest » 08/11/06 12:03 AM

I remember visiting The Museum, shortly after it opened, and spent a wonderful afternoon with Bob, as he showed me around.
When I asked him, how business was, for paid admissions, he said so-so, so far...and then he added, waving to everything around him, "But if it never makes a dime, I have the world's greatest toy!"

Hugh Hefner said the greatest potential, is to be able to create and live in the environment of your choosing.
Bob is among those who did that.

We can all be grateful to Elaine and Bob, who together, made their dream, a reality.

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