A City Museum of Kingston
The City Museum of St. Louis, the view from the parking lot- yes, that’s an old airplane up there
I recently visited the City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri and it got me thinking about how cool it would be to have a City Museum of Kingston. The museum in St. Louis was literally constructed completely from leftover and discarded pieces of the city.
According to it’s website, the city museum is “housed in the 600,000 square-foot former International Shoe Company” and is “an eclectic mixture of children’s playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel made out of unique, found objects. The brainchild of internationally acclaimed artist Bob Cassilly, a classically trained sculptor and serial entrepreneur, the museum opened for visitors in 1997 to the riotous approval of young and old alike.”
“Cassilly and his longtime crew of 20 artisans have constructed the museum from the very stuff of the city; and, as a result, it has urban roots deeper than any other institutions. Reaching no farther than municipal borders for its reclaimed building materials, City Museum boasts features such as old chimneys, salvaged bridges, construction cranes, miles of tile, and even two abandoned planes!”
“City Museum makes you want to know,” says Cassilly. “The point is not to learn every fact, but to say, ‘Wow, that’s wonderful.’ And if it’s wonderful, it’s worth preserving.”
This was certainly a unique museum experience as nothing was off limits- you could touch, play with, crawl through and interact with pretty much everything there- not exactly your typical museum rules. In fact, there weren’t many rules at all: there was popcorn and other snacks on sale on all floors and even beer (and other beverages) available to purchase and then walk around with. There was something there for everyone; kids and adults alike. You could learn about the city, check out architectural and other urban bits and pieces, see the circus, view strange and wonderful fish in the mini aquarium, see the view of St. Louis, or just hang out have fun.
Now, wouldn’t it be great if we could have a City Museum of Kingston, we certainly have all the necessary “stuff” (read: abandoned junk all over the place including that old plane that used to be at the airport, is it still there?) and all those abandoned warehouses downtown would make perfect venues and add to the “rehabilitation” of downtown.
The day we were at the City Museum in St. Louis, there were easily several thousand people there, all paying admission plus buying concessions and memorabilia… not a charity endevour by a long shot, but also one that engages young people and families.
So now all we need is some interested investors…any out there?
The view from the parking lot- and yes again, that’s a bus hanging of the edge
Kids crawling up into the plane
Playing in the ball and balloon cage
Detail of main staircase
Kids crawling through metal sprials
Interior of museum main hall
Relics on display
Butterflies of St. Louis on display
The Why Cheap Art manifesto
The circus training school
Old city bottles on display
The hamster wheel for humans
The hall of mirrors
Humping turtles- the museum has a mini zoo and aquarium
Detail of one of the walls made of gears
The view from the roof
The roof features mini pond and sliding ramp
Roof top sliding ramp
The view of the roof’s ceiling- more kids crawling around up in there
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veeery cool! This could certainly be done here with all the flotsam and jetsam we have jus lying around.
Great post Karin – and what a great thing that would be for Kingston and JA. The City Museum in NYC in quite cool too – in terms of covering the history in every aspect – but this one in St. Louis beats the lot since it’s like a fun park from the looks of it. I imagine it would cost a pretty penny to put it together and would require a coalition of historians and private investors to pull it together. And Kingston could use a great tourist attraction like that! The real question is: anyone out there who cares about the history of Kingston?