Plan revealed for a brand new museum in York – which will ‘amuse, fascinate, teach and disgust’

News worth grinning about. This is Robert the cat, one of the artefacts for the new museum. Photograph: Pandora's Box / Facebook

York could soon have a brand new museum – unlike any other in the city.

The Curiosity Micro Museum and Sideshow will showcase some of the strange, novel and downright weird things the world has to offer.

It is the brainchild of Greg and Heather Bowser, the couple who created York’s strangest shop – Pandora’s Box on Colliergate.

The self-proclaimed ‘one-stop weird shop’ stocks all sorts of oddities, curiosities, collectibles and antiques.

Now they want to create a mini-museum at the premises and have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the £5,500 needed to launch it.

“The idea is that York’s weirdest shop can become York’s smallest weirdest independent museum, modelled after a Victorian Cabinet of Curiosities, housing strange and unusual items from around the world,” Heather told YorkMix.

There are lots of rewards for backers, but you need to get in before the deadline of May 28.

Bizarre artefacts

Greg and Heather previously ran a similar museum in Heather’s home country, the United States – and won an award for it.

But they hadn’t thought of doing the same thing in York – “until early last autumn when we applied for membership as an independent museum and our ideas began to unfold”.

Nice hat

So who is the Curiosity Micro Museum and Sideshow aimed at?

“It’s for people who want to see the strange, the weird and the wonderful – the bizarre things that you’ll never really see anywhere else in the world, that we’ve sent years gathering and curating,” Heather said.

The main exhibition will display the artefacts and curiosities in their collection, such as…

  • antique surgical and medical instruments
  • antique embalming and mortuary related items
  • taxidermy
  • strange preservations
  • and items from a Victorian sideshow.

Old-fashioned sideshow

Pandora’s Box is a treasure trove of the odd and macabre. Photograph: Richard McDougall

“We will curate the best and oddest things from all over the world to amuse, fascinate, teach or disgust you,” the couple say.

“We want children to come in and leave excited about the world. We want adults to come in and leave fascinated and with open eyes about what exactly it looks like inside our imagination.”

There would also be regular visiting exhibitions.

“We want to honour the tradition of the old-fashioned sideshow,” say Greg and Heather.

“The kind of place that leads you through a curtain and into another time and place.”

They need the Kickstarter cash to display the treasures in proper display cabinets, and signs to explain all about each item.

“If we can’t keep sharing these stories, these items are going to be lost forever,” Heather says.

“We’d like you to be part of the story of Pandora’s Box, and its next chapter.”