Fifty years of collecting, researching and questioning will be on display when the Museum of Imagination opens in Brockwell. It will have exhibits of natural and human history from past and present.
The museum is an experiment in education, said Director Albert Lorenzi. Those who want to explore the answers to many puzzling questions can visit the museum in search of answers.
Lorenzi said, "If the exhibits causes one to think then the process has begun."
Lorenzi and his wife, Barbra, have been involved in various educational ventures, and the museum is a culmination of ideas and collected materials.
The museum has various specimens including minerals, elements, gem stones, fossils, meteorites, skulls, bones, shells, manures, preserved animal and marine life, spiders, insects, birds, eggs, seeds, pods, plants, fungi, edible foods, reptiles and historical artifacts.
Exhibits of interest include a manure quiz, Mayan artifacts, arrowheads, an African head carving and an astronomical model.
The specimens are in various stages of being ready for display. Additional work of sorting into categories, identifying, cleaning, labeling, boxing and storing continues in an effort to get ready for its grand opening.
Lorenzi said the museum is at the stage to enlist aid from the public to perform tasks. Each stage requires a different level of ability and knowledge to learn some basic distinctions such as the difference between insects, spiders, moths and butterflies. Step two is the most difficult -- identifying each specimen, Lorenzi explained. The next steps involve working with existing materials and performing a worked out method. Each person can pick a stage he feels comfortable with and contribute to the task, he explained.
As these tasks are accomplished items will be chosen for an exhibit to coincide with the desired theme. Next, a caption and commentary will be developed to complement the theme and be printed on placards.
The museum has various materials including wood and plastics that can be used to set up the physical structures to display the items in the exhibit.
Additional jobs that need to be completed include sorting and shelving over 8,000 books, sorting and filing articles, serving as docents to learn and explain exhibits, demonstrating various activities such as paper making, plant press, fossil cleaning and lapidary, controlling activities and exhibits that have interaction with visitors, using the computer to write captions and print for exhibits, developing a Web site and general maintenance relating to the building and grounds.
The books relate to a wide range of subject.
There are many aspects to developing a museum with the initial goal of putting existing materials into presentable exhibits before the doors open, said Lorenzi.
The continuing goal is to refine the current items and add ideas and materials for better and new exhibits. With the help of the public the museum can accomplish the initial stage, and with continuing help the public will see the benefits and have a vision for the future, he added.
Lorenzi encourages the public to contribute their works, exhibits and ideas for display. Vounteers are also needed to help work in the museum. He said lost and forgotten treasures are often found in attics, basements or barns.
There will be varied possibilities for those interested to contribute toward the endeavor. Ideas and items that are suitable could be added to the exhibits and displayed for a specified period of time and then returned to the owner.
Since he has been working, building tables and display cases, the public has shown an interest, especially those with children, asking when the museum will open. Soon, he replied, but sooner with help.
The museum is located one mile south of Brockwell on Route 9, across from the Izard County Senior Citizen Center. Lorenzi can be contacted at 870-895-2087.