Museum of Fear and Wonder

Bergen, Alberta

Website

June 1 to August 30

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Credit: Museum of Fear and Wonder

The Museum of Fear and Wonder is a rural mystifying museum located outside the small community of Bergen, Alberta. It is a project by two brothers Jude Griebel and Bendan Griebel, designed to be an interactive and educating experience for the audience.

The collection consists of objects with emotional qualities that make the audience feel emotionally uncomfortable just by looking at them. This includes clay and wax heads with creepy eyes that stare into your soul as you pass by them, anatomical models, life-size dolls, old hand-made dollhouses, ouija boards and several others.

What to See at Museum of Fear and Wonder

Take a guided tour of the museum to get to know the history of each artifact on display.

You might be wondering why would anyone want to visit a place that makes them so uncomfortable? This is because the museum doesn’t just provoke fear- it leaves the audience in a state of awe. It helps the audience try to understand how our past experiences still influence the way we look at things. Each object, without any back story allows the audience to create some sort of narrative.

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We continue our documentation of other small museums and alternative collections, presenting the House of Broel. Located in the Garden District of New Orleans, the House of Broel is a dizzying interlacing of inner fantasy, local history and physical structure. The grand mansion on St. Charles Avenue is the distilled vision of former Mardi Gras Queen Bonnie Broel and includes the world’s largest private collection of miniatures made by a single artist, a private fashion showcase, and homage to her family’s frog leg canning business. A rare tour by Ms. Broel herself will lead from the lofted entertaining chambers of New Orleans’ grand history, to upper rooms occupied by elaborate customized dollhouses containing scenes ranging from high Victorian teas to Western brothels. In other rooms kitsch objects are thickly layered with Southern antiques, one room in particular housing only ceramic frogs. The tour ends in the mansion’s rafters, where you are invited to gaze upon Ms. Broel’s own Mardi Gras and society dresses amongst mannequins and faded cut-outs of celebrities. The rooms and contents of the House are stitched together through Ms. Broel’s spellbinding reminiscences of her own life, the house’s previous occupants, and the city’s illustrious past. . . . #museumoffearandwonder #smallmuseum #houseofbroel #neworleans #dollhouse #froglegs

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Just by looking at them one can sense that they have a complicated history and emotions have been projected onto them in a certain way. Each object in some way speaks to our human experience and stories. This allows people with similar interests to have conversations about these objects, share their ideas and expand their thinking regarding the psychological impact certain objects have.

The simple fact that the museum is inside a Second World War re-purposed army barracks is quite unsettling and adds to the overall experience.

Kiddo, the doll is a must-see when you visit the museum. It is a life-sized doll with the height of a child and she even weighs as much as a child should! It also has fingernails and eyelashes made of leather. Sometimes when the weather is dry enough, the leather over her mouth moves apart to reveal real human teeth. The doll was made by a father in Texas for his kids back in the 1930s and was passed down from generation to generation. The YouTuber grav3yardgirl had purchased the doll but returned it to the original owners after having a series of strange incidents in her life. The doll was then returned to the museum for display. Another owner complained that the doll would keep changing places in her house and out of fear returned it.

See the chessboard on display was handcrafted by a death row inmate in the 1970s in Louisiana. He made it during his last days and dyed it with shoe polish. It has several carved characters showing how his final days are played out.

The museum also has a wall of Ouija boards and rooms with wax heads, mannequins, ventriloquist dummies and anatomy models. There is also a Victorian rocking horse made from a stillborn colt.

A dollhouse that was made in the Appalachian Mountains, crafted from barn wood and other materials is on display in the museum. This dollhouse is said to be haunted due to reports of people seeing the spirit of a little girl at night.

TRIP PLANNING

Cost: The museum is absolutely free to visit!

Hours: June 1 to August 30 | Pre-booking Required. Closed in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Where: Bergen, Alberta. Approximately one hour north of Calgary.

When to Visit the Museum of Fear and Wonder:

Before you visit the museum you will have to make an appointment by filling a request form that is available on their website. The museum is open to the public every summer between June 1st and August 30th and guided tours are provided to the audience. Unfortunately, the maximum group size is only 8 people. Book Your Trip.

Who is it for: Museum visit is not recommended for children.

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Posted in Attractions, History & Culture and Museums

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