American Museum of Magic
The American Museum of Magic is home to the largest public collection of magic memorabilia in the country. Opened over forty years ago, this museum displays all manner of historical magic artifacts from all over the world including posters, books, original props, and more! A few of the most significant artifacts held at the museum include the display of prominent Michigan magician Harry Blackstone Sr., a first edition of “The Discoverie of Witchcraft” the 16th century book revealing magic tricks and illusions, and many of Harry Houdini’s original props, including the famous Milk Can Escape! Discover what has been described as “the Smithsonian of American magic.”
Backstory and Context
Why is the American Museum of Magic located in Marshall, Michigan?
This museum was originally the private collection of Michigan native, Robert Lund. Robert discovered his love for magic at the age of seven, having been amazed by a magician during his extended stay at a tuberculosis sanatorium in Howell, Michigan. As a teenager, after trying to be a magician himself, Robert decided he was better off at becoming a collector—he collected all manner of magic memorabilia for the rest of his life.
On April Fools’ Day in 1978, after six years of preparation and restoration, Robert and his wife Elaine opened the American Museum of Magic in Marshall, Michigan so they could display their impressive collection. The museum features memorabilia of magicians from all over the world, whether they were famous internationally or known exclusively within their communities. Some of the best-known magicians whose stories are told at the museum include Harry Houdini, Harry Blackstone Sr., and Howard Thurston.
Not only does the American Museum of Magic itself hold thousands of important artifacts, but the collection is so extensive that the museum’s archive library holds the rest of the hundreds of thousands of items that relate to magic. The extended collection includes the props and posters, postcards and letters, books and magazines, advertisements, theatre programs, newspaper articles, and much, much more. While this collection is not open to the public, research appointments can be made by contacting the museum and scheduling in advance.
The American Museum of Magic has been run as a non-profit by a volunteer Board of Directors since 2006, and the collection has only grown larger and more impressive over time.