Fright at the museum.
A UK museum has devised an ingenious way to entertain isolated aesthetes while closed under the coronavirus lockdown — by holding a competition to see which institution has the “World’s Creepiest Exhibit.” Needless to say, culture vultures have heeded the creep call by filling the depository’s Twitter feed with a treasure trove of ghoulish artifacts from across the globe.
“It’s time for #CURATORBATTLE! Today’s theme, chosen by you, is #CreepiestObject!” posted the now-shuttered Yorkshire Museum in a Friday tweet. They kicked off the bizarre challenge with a skin-crawling snap of a dead Roman woman’s hair bun from the third or fourth century — with the pins still in place.
National Museums Scotland responded in kind with a macabre mermaid — complete with rotting teeth that sent Twitter users heading for the hills. “Okay I’m not sleeping tonight,” replied the Yorkshire Museum Twitter account to the grotesque relic.
Equally chilling was this over 150-year-old bizarro hobby horse shared by the Prince Edward Island Museum in Canada. “We call it ‘Wheelie’ — and it MOVES ON ITS OWN,” intoned the account.
“How can we ignore such a call to arms?” replied the Norwich Castle account with an accompanying pic of a peapod-shaped pincushion with fake “children’s heads” pinch-hitting for peas.
Dan Hicks, an archeology professor at the University Of Oxford, posted an especially grisly image of an early 20th century sheep’s heart that was impaled with nails to supposedly “break evil spells.” In the realm of occult acupuncture, it doesn’t compare to this pin-riddled pigeon heart which was allegedly used to “punish a witch,” per the caption.
Cardiovascular voodoo dolls not your thing? How about this 17th-18th-century plague mask courtesy of the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin. Although perhaps the bird-like contraption doesn’t seem as strange now, given the plethora of bizarre anti-COVID devices dreamt up by inventive isolationists recently.
“Could we borrow that for the NHS? Bit low on surgical masks over here,” replied one commenter in reference to rampant face mask shortages.
The Royal Armories Museum in Leeds, England, turned up the creep-o-meter with this smiling mask that they postulate was “an iron muzzle designed for public humiliation.”
Not to be outdone, the York Castle Museum in York, England, uploaded a chill-inducing diorama featuring figurines comprised of crab claws. “Typical Victorians, they loved weird/creepy stuff,” reads the caption.
Unfortunately, the bizarre challenge likely won’t be enough to rescue the museum community, which has been devastated by the coronavirus closures. The heads of New York City’s temporarily shuttered Metropolitan Museum of Art recently announced massive pay cuts as a means to help stem their projected $100 million loss.
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