There are many reasons to donate to a museum. Your mission may be to create a legacy or you may just want to make sure that the audience for a precious treasure is larger than your immediate family; the tax implications, of course, are particularly advantageous too. Most of these bequests are works of art, perhaps sculptures, drawings, paintings or even films. Not all of them, however. Donors around the world have gifted museums with a series of unlikely artifacts that they consider important enough to be preserved – and, surprisingly enough, these institutions have accepted.
Take the Versace leopard print 1998 swim shorts, produced just after Gianni’s untimely death, and held in the collection of the Met Museum. Donor (and former porter) Tom Belville passed away in 2006, so there is no record of how or why he considered his speedos worthy of archiving. The history of some other unusual holdings, however, is a bit easier to trace, although in some cases rather hard to believe.
The Kuyper cake collection
The Southern Food & Beverage Museum in New Orleans
Most of these elaborate cakes almost ended up in a dumpster. They were created by Frances Kuyper, nicknamed the Cake Lady; she is recognized as the expert who perfected the technique of using the airbrush to paint on the surface of cakes. Kuyper has amassed a huge amount of cakes over the course of her career, mostly inedible styrofoam demonstrations, and created a mini-museum in the East LA retirement home where she moved to before her death in 2010. They were detained at a local school for a few years. .
âThen the school needed space after a budget cut and decided it could no longer support the museum,â says Liz Williams, founder of SoFaB. âWhen the pastry students realized what was going on, they tried to save the cakes from the grabbed a lot. They appealed to find an institution that would give them a home. She pauses. “It was more of a rescue mission than a legacy.” The collection consists of not only 150 cakes, but also 100 tapes demonstrating techniques from around the world and a library of 500 books.
Harry Styles cardigan and a replica generated by TikTok
Victoria & Albert Museum in London
The styles wore a brightly colored patchwork cardigan from designer JW Anderson’s Spring 2020 men’s collection while rehearsing on the Today Show – and a devoted fan, unable to pay $ 1,890 for the original, quickly set out to recreate it. based in Los Angeles social media influencer Liv Huffman started learning to crochet during lockdown and recreated an impressive approximation of the singer’s cardigan she featured on TikTok. Millions of views later, designer Anderson was so impressed with the impact that he uploaded a pattern for the sweater on his site, plus a YouTube tutorial, so everyone can try to make their own.
The London V&A, renowned for its fashion archives, acquired one of Anderson’s originals in November, and then the designer made an offer: If Huffman also donated his house version to the museum, he would send him the original she ‘I wanted, but couldn’t afford, and she agreed. Now, the museum plans to display Anderson’s design and its social media replica together in the coming months.
Dan Akroyd’s SNL-Era Moto
National Comedy Center in Jamestown, NY
Journey Gunderson, executive director of the National Comedy Center, met Dan Aykroyd for a martini-based lunch in Santa Monica in January 2016 to talk to the legendary comedian about a museum opening soon. She was hoping to persuade him to donate or support him in some way – and suddenly he had an idea: what about the motorcycle he was taking to the SNL afters, which he had? stored in John Belushi’s basement? She instantly agreed. “This bike symbolizes the mad rush they were all in, experiencing late night comedy skits on TV, pushing boundaries, clinging to life as Saturday night rolled around every week and they had to go on, broadcast nationally whether they were ready or not, âsays Gunderson Robb Report.
The motorcycle itself is a rare bird: a 1971 Harley Davidson Police Edition, which was later used by the Golden Helmets drill crew on a TV show. It was picked up from storage in Canada, and Aykroyd rode it to the museum entrance gates through the opening day crowd, before dedicating the bike and taking the stage with a local band to sing Sweet Home Chicago with them, impromptu.
Two silicone breast implants and a checkbook
Museum of Broken Relationships in LA and Zagreb, Croatia
This museum started as a wacky project between two Croatian artists, a couple who joked that they should set up a museum to house the items that defined their relationship four years after it ended. The idea snowballed, and they started sourcing other quirky items from friends with one mission: anonymously donating the item that embodies a failed relationship alongside a short tale explaining the legacy. The collection’s first permanent home opened in Zagreb 11 years ago, and a Los Angeles-based satellite was established in 2016 by wealthy local lawyer John B. Quinn (the latter is currently on the hunt for a new permanent berth, having closed its longtime Hollywood home).
Los Angeles curator Alexis Hyde, invited to select notable titles, suggested a pair of silicone breast implants. âI mutilated my body for a man I loved. Back then I loved him more than I loved myself, what I now know is very toxic, “the donor wrote,” I received silicone breast implants that he initially had paid, but then got me refund. I have had these implants in my body for 5 years. Some years with him and others without. I hated them all the time.
Her Zagreb counterpart, Charlotte Fuentes, suggested, among other things, a checkbook, offered by a woman from Denver, Colorado, after her 22-year marriage ended. He saw the ups and downs of their relationship, buy-by-buy, whether it was tuition, attorney, and therapy, and then renting two different apartments. âIt tells of the financial breakdown of our time together,â she wrote. âFor so many years, I had to save him; I just couldn’t throw it away. It’s like destroying the engine of a romantic relationship. “
A fragment of Edgar Allen Poe’s coffin
Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia
It sounds like a plot devised by writer Edgar Allen Poe rather than something that happened to his own corpse. The Gothic writer died in 1849, so poor that he was buried in an anonymous grave. Over two decades later, with his reputation at an all-time high, fans raised money to give Poe a real memorial and arranged for him to be exhumed and moved elsewhere in the cemetery. âAs they moved his coffin to a better location across the graveyard, it was so rotten it collapsed,â said Chris Semtner, curator of the Poe Museum, citing contemporary reports that also marveled at the state of the teeth of the skeleton. “When Poe’s bones were placed in a new box, people grabbed pieces of the old casket as keepsakes.”
These relics were scattered after her reburial, but when Poe collector Susan Taffe Jane passed away last December, she bequeathed the piece of this coffin she had acquired to the writer’s museum of the same name, after Semtner had contacted her several years earlier to ask her to borrow it. The Poe Museum isn’t the only institution to have such fragments, either: there’s a piece of it at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, and the Baltimore-based Poe Society has a pen it claims. was made from this same wood.