A little shop of horrors – a bigger museum of curiosities

The shop as it was before closing in Spring 2014. Photo: Bixento

The shop as it was before closing in Spring 2014. Photo: Bixento

“Two headed babies, 16th century engravings, a giant anteater skeleton, a jellyfish aquarium, a huge coral reef aquarium, a casket containing some of the original darkness Moses called down upon earth….”

Vikor Wynd is describing the items he has amassed in his curiosities collection, many of which were once on display at his Little Shop of Horrors on Mare St in Hackney. The shop, which recently closed, was long the home of an incredible cornucopia of curiosities. It was also the headquarters for The Last Tuesday Society.

Wynd himself describes The Last Tuesday Society as a: “pataphysical organisation founded by William James at Harvard in 1878, dedicated to doing slightly odd, slightly silly things that other people don’t do.”

Luckily the Society will not be without a home for long as Wynd recently announced that the shop front will be converted into a museum – and it will be one like no other.

The offerings of The Last Tuesday Society are a moveable feast. Aside from the macabre collection, the Society has also previously held lectures, taxidermy lessons and planned parties. But the intention for the venue, explains Wynd, “was always to become a museum, once the collection had grown.

“It has now outgrown the space and there’s so much to show.”

Aside from the taxidermy and artifacts, Wynd says the museum will also feature “artworks by Austin Osman Spare, Mervyn Peake, Gunter Grass, Leonora Carrington…

“But the main exhibit,” he adds, “will be you – the visitor.”

The process will be a laborious one, as a major physical transformation will be needed in order to make the museum work in the space. “The address is the same but everything will be taken out, walls ripped down and rebuilt,” Wynd explains. “It won’t be recognisable.”

Yet major as the alterations may be, the atmosphere of the shop is meant to pervade. In fact, Wynd is hoping that the space will more than ever serve as a “home from home” to their regulars and fans.

“The refit will include a small café, maybe event a bar so that visitors can socialise and preen,” Wynd explains. “We want them to be able to enjoy it more, and spend more time.”

It won’t be cheap, and the funds have yet to be entirely secured. But Wynd has everything planned out.

“We will be launching a kick-starter campaign,” he says. “We’re hoping to launch the campaign in a couple of weeks.

“We are hoping that people who have been to the shop or events there will support our permanent transformation.”

He added: “We won’t be asking for government funding because we think they should stay out of the arts and stick to things like education and crime.”

Wynd is hoping that the campaign will help put the Society in a position to “allow us to employ a literary and events director – the aim is to have far more lectures and events than we ever had before!”

Should the campaign be successful, The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History will be celebrating its grand opening in September 2014.

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