International Cryptozoology Museum
Backstory and Context
The International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine was first established in the summer of 2003. Loren Coleman, a renowned cryptozoologist, bought a home intended to display his vast collection of items collected over fifty years of researching cryptids, or “hidden animals.” He had artwork, castings, toys, and even an 8-foot tall statue of a Bigfoot that he wanted to share with the general public.
Cryptozoology is a relatively new branch of the life sciences. Time magazine once defined “cryptozoology” as “the study of hidden animals.” It elaborated on its definition by stating that cryptozoology “involves the search for animals whose existence has not been verified, like the Yeti or Bigfoot.” The descriptions were included in Time magazine’s listing of the weirdest museums in the world. Portland’s International Cryptozoology Museum was ranked seventh out of the ten museums that made the list.
The museum’s collection includes a variety of natural specimens and artifacts stemming from this peripheral science. The search for unverified, often mythical, creatures turns up everything from hair samples, fecal matter and native art. The museum holds 100 footcasts believed to belong to creatures commonly known as Bigfoot, but also called Sasquatch, Yeti, or the Yowie depending on where in the world their story originates.
The logo of the museum features a large blue fish. This is a coelacanth, a prehistoric fish that scientists had determined was extinct. They thought that the last of this species had died out nearly 65 million years ago. However, a coelacanth was found swimming in the Indian Ocean off of the southern coast of Africa in 1901 – providing evidence of an animal that scientists claimed no longer existed. This is the foundation of cryptozoology that keeps researchers looking for other hidden creatures.
Coleman believes that many of these creatures do exist and just need to be found, but he also leaves room for skepticism. His museum features a few fake representations of “supposed” cryptids that were proved to be hoaxes, such as the jackalope, the Feejee Mermaid, and the furred trout.
The International Cryptozoology Museum is opened to the general public six days a week: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 11 AM to 4 PM and on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 AM to 6 PM. The museum is closed on Tuesdays. It sells the last ticket for entry one half-hour before the museum’s closing time to allow guests sufficient time to view the exhibits.
History of the ICM. International Cryptozoology Museum. Accessed November 23, 2017. http://cryptozoologymuseum.com/history-of-the-icm
Keyes, Bob. Portland’s International Cryptozoology Museum named in ‘10 weirdest museums’ list. Portland Press Herald. May 20, 2014. Accessed November 23, 2017. http://www.pressherald.com/2014/05/20/portland_s_international_cryptozoology_museum_named_in__10_wei....
Farlow, Susan. You may not believe in Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster — but this museum may persuade you otherwise. Los Angeles Times. January 23, 2017. Accessed November 23, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-cryptozoological-museum-20170122-story.html