Two Weeks ago, I attempted to see the Houdini Display with the Russian Manacle at the Whittier Museum, but the docent with the key never showed up; apparently there have been some problems.
I called the Museum this past Friday and they promised someone would be there this weekend with the key. They told me to make sure I arrived before the last tour, which is at 3 pm.
On Saturday, my wife, son-in-law, daughter, grand-daughter and I made the trip to the Whittier Museum to try and see the Houdini Display with the Russian Manacle.
Grandpapa and Grand-Daughter at the Whittier Museum
We arrived at 2:45 and the door was locked due to a tour in progress and only 1 docent on the premises. There were 3 other people waiting that had arrived at 2:00 and were told by the docent that they could not join the tour that had just started, but would have to wait outside for the next one at 3:00.
We had driven in from Los Angeles and the other 3 people had driven in from Hollywood to see the Magic Exhibit. At 3:00, our tour began with the docent telling us that the magic exhibit upstairs was closed and that we would be getting a tour of the down-stairs on the Whittier experience. At first I thought the docent was joking. This was not the case; we were told that we needed to arrive at 1pm to see the magic exhibit and we could come back tomorrow. I let the docent know that I was here two weeks ago and called yesterday to confirm that I would be able to see the magic exhibit. The docent confirmed what I already knew, he was the docent that was supposed to be here two weeks ago with the key.
Well, I wasn’t about to drive all this way a second time and not see the Houdini Display and the Russian Manacle or was I.
I can tell you one thing, at this point, there was no way my family was going to participate in a 45 minute tour of the Whittier experience. We were just about to walk out, until I finally was able to talk the docent into foregoing the Whittier tour and taking us upstairs to see the Magic exhibit.
The elevator doors to the second floor opened; Were we finally going to get to see the Houdini display and the Russian Manacle?
The first thing that the docent announces as we exit the elevator is that we can’t see the Houdini display on the right because the lights in the display won’t come on.
You had got to be kidding me. I felt like I was in the twilight zone.
Apparently, 2 months ago, the museum had motion sensors for all the lights in the museum installed and since that time, the lights in the Houdini display have not come on. So for 2 months and counting the highlight of the exhibit, display and museum has been in the dark.
Family trying to see the Russian Manacle in the Dark
After trying to see the Russian Manacle in the dark, I asked the docent if he was going to describe the other magic exhibits that were not in the dark; he proceeded to tell me that he was never given a script. At this point, I took matters in my own hands and gave my family and the other 3 guests my own tour of the magic exhibit.
I don’t think the Society of American Magicians (S.A.M.) would be happy with how their collection is being portrayed by the museum and that the Houdini Display has been in the dark all this time.