(Now: Chances are you have read Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder, Lawrence Weschler’s exquisite portrait of the Museum of Jurassic Technology and its irrepressible curator/bon vivant, David Wilson. If you have not read this book, please do so, then return to us. We will wait. Right, we will be here, waiting. No, go ahead, we will be here — it’s no bother at all. Just go. Really, just leave, walk a few blocks, pick it up, breeze through, then come back. We have time. We can just stay here, humming, thinking of trees, of sentient trees, wondering how we can be sure that there are no sentient trees, honestly, have we tested every kind of tree for — Oh, you’re back. Finished? Good, good. Was excellent, yes, the book? Yes, the part about the human horn was especially good. All right then. Now you know.
Following is a notice sent out by the Trustees of the Museum, soliciting donations from good people. The Museum is in dire need of help. This is entirely real. Even though some of it does not sound real, it is very real. Good people are needed to help other good people. Note: Bad people need not read on.)
On the eve of its ten-year anniversary, the Museum of Jurassic Technology learned that the buildings in which the museum is housed were to be placed on the market in early 1998. Faced with the decision to either purchase the buildings or vacate, the Museum issued a public appeal for funds to help secure the property and preserve the Museum of Jurassic Technology. The initial response provided enough to secure the building in the Museum’s name, but the full purchase amount must be raised by the end of 1999.
The Hester Pookes Tradescant Fund:
On 4 April 1678 Hester Pookes Tradescant was found drowned in her own shallow pond at South Lambeth. With her death the final obstacle was cleared for her neighbor, Elias Ashmole, “the greatest virtuoso and curioso that ever was known or read of in England before his time,” to assume possession of the collections that had once populated Tradescant’s Ark-collections built over generations by the John Tradescants, father and son-collections, which, amassed as a subsidiary exercise to their chosen botanical efforts, brought together an exceptional assortment of rarities celebrated in an era already known for the curious and peculiar. Ashmole, having befriended the less fashionable John and Hester Tradescant, secured from the couple a deed of gift for the collections. Although in subsequent years the Tradescants attempted to rescind the deed, Ashmole, a barrister, had written the document in such a meticulous fashion that on 18 May 1664, the Court of Chancery found that he (Ashmole) should “have and enjoy all and singular the said Bookes, Coynes, Medalls, Stones, Pictures, Mechanicks and Antiquities belonging to the collection.” Hester Tradescant was to keep them in trust during the short period that remained in her life, as provided in the deed. Shortly after Hester Tradescant’s unexplained drowning Elias Ashmole, as sole donor, presented to his honored mother, the University of Oxford, the collections that were to form the seed of the renowned cultural institution that now bears his name..
The Museum of Jurassic Technology finds itself today in a curiously comparable situation. The owners of the buildings in which the Museum and its collections have been housed for the past decade have resolved to dispose of the property and (based on the Museum’s long standing lease and the considerable improvements made by the Museum to the buildings over the period of occupancy) have offered the property for sale to the Museum. For the fair and reasonable price of $1,000,000 the owners have offered to sell the four buildings and adjoining lot totaling some 15,625 sq. ft. of exterior and 12,000 sq. ft. of interior space. After prompt but proper consideration, the Trustees of the Museum have determined that the decision to remain in the current buildings at the current location is the only prudent course and have accordingly resolved to raise the funds necessary to steer this chosen course. To this end, the Museum is issuing a singular public appeal for funds to help secure the property and preserve the Museum of Jurassic Technology as a unique cultural refuge for this city and for the broader general good. All donations to the Hester Pookes Tradescant Fund for the Preservation of the Museum of Jurassic Technology are tax-deductible and each gift will be recognized with a unique gift produced by the Museum in observance of this historic event.
To donate, make your check payable to The Museum of Jurassic Technology and send to:
The Museum Of Jurassic Technology
9341 Venice Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232
For more information about the museum and its plight, visit the museum’s website at: http://www.mjt.org
or call them at:
(you may also donate by credit card over the phone)
Thank you for your help in saving the MJT.