Death Museum Makes the Wall Street Journal

January 6, 2014
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Article from The Wall Street Journal

A Place Where Death and Beauty Intersect

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Hundreds of Items in Joanna Ebenstein’s Collection of Curiosities Meet at the Intersection of Art, Science, Death and Beauty

From a two-headed duckling to a full human skeleton to pickled snakes and mice, the hundreds of items in Joanna Ebenstein’s collection of curiosities meet at the intersection of art, science, death and beauty.

The 42-year-old’s personal collection of taxidermy, anatomical art and ephemera have been known as the Morbid Anatomy Library inside Brooklyn’s Proteus Gowanus gallery since 2008.

But come April, she’ll bring her passions to a larger audience when the Morbid Anatomy Museum opens in a 4,200-square-foot, three-floor space in Gowanus.

“The Morbid Anatomy Museum is going to collect objects that tell that interesting, somewhat eccentric and lesser-told story,” said Evan Michelson, a museum board member, antiques dealer and star of the Science Channel’s reality TV show “Oddities.”

Museum Chief Executive Tracy Hurley Martin agreed, saying mainstream exhibits won’t be a part of the space, which will include an expanded permanent collection of curiosities, an exhibition space, lecture areas, a cafe and a gift shop.

“You’re not going to go to the Met and see what we’re planning on showing you,” she said.

Ms. Ebenstein—who spearheaded the annual Congress for Curious People and co-edited the forthcoming Morbid Anatomy Anthology—said the museum’s first exhibit will look at the life and work of Walter Potter, an anthropomorphic taxidermist.

Subsequent exhibitions, which will be changed every four to six months, might focus on death masks or the connection between theology and renaissance science, demonstrated by the “Physica Sacra,” a book by Johannes Jacob Scheuchzer first published in 1731.

Read full article here: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304866904579268671026647480

Photo: Wall Street Journal

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