Monday, October 8, 2018

Summer of Magic: Treasures from the David Copperfield Collection

Summer of Magic: Treasures from the David Copperfield Collection features highlights from the International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts, the incomparable trove of magical historical artifacts from the Emmy Award-winning illusionist David Copperfield. Evoking the New York magic shops that sparked Copperfield’s imagination, displays explore the careers and achievements of legendary magicians from the Golden Age of Magic (1880s–1930s) and showcase iconic objects used by Harry Houdini in his famous escape stunts, culminating with the Death Saw—one of Copperfield’s groundbreaking illusions. Curated by Cristian Petru Panaite, assistant curator of exhibitions.

Iconic objects on view include the Metamorphosis Trunk, used by Harry and Bess Houdini, that allowed the couple to magically trade places; handcuffs from the 1904 London Daily Mirror challenge, from which Houdini struggled to escape for more than 70 minutes; and Houdini’s Milk Can, an act that premiered in 1908 in which he attempted to escape from this colossal, locked can filled to the brim with water. Also on display are a dress believed to be worn by Adelaide Herrmann (1853–1932), the “Queen of Magic,” who started out as her husband’s assistant and carried on the show after his death, performing her dangerous death-defying bullet catch act; Harry Kellar’s Nested Boxes, an illusion performed for President Roosevelt’s family; and an Inexhaustible Barrel from Dante the Magician’s Broadway show Sim Sala Bim. 

This was a very cool exhibit at the NY Historical Society during the summer. I have always had an interest in Harry Houdini and it was neat to see some items that he actually used in his magic act.  
I was thrilled they still have something like this coat for all to enjoy. There is actually a Harry Houdini museum near my home in Scranton, Pa. 

To think Houdini escaped from this milk jug is pretty amazing  

It was hard to shoot the straitjacket with the sun, but how darn cool is this? What a treasure to still have in 2018!  

I actually sent my parents to see David Copperfield for their anniversary and they were just amazed by his show. They talked about it for months afterwards, and I was so glad they had the chance to see him live.  

The New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street)

Museum & Museum Store Hours
Tuesday – Thursday 10 am – 6 pm
Friday 10 am – 8 pm
Saturday 10 am – 6 pm
Sunday 11 am – 5 pm
New-York Historical offers free daily tours of the Museum's collections at 2 PM and 3:30 PM.

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