Hidden Alton: Curiosity Museum Offers A Bit of Everything
Paintings that follow visitors around a room, a Victorian Vampire Killing Kit, 'Mummy Juice' medicine, a gas mask for a horse. Those are just a few of the exhibits at the newly opened Curiosity Museum housed in the historic Mineral Springs Hotel in downtown Alton, IL.
Anyone looking for the quirky, odd or just plain weird is sure to find that and more at the museum.
"I've always been interested in curiosity items. I have collected a lot over the years," said Janet Kolar, the owner and local expert on all things 'curious'. "Some of the things I have are hilarious. I think people will find the exhibits somewhat interesting."
Janet Kolar with the Victorian Vampire Killing Kit
The Victorian Vampire Killing Kit includes a Slovakian Bible which has been in the Kolar family for over 150 years, Holy water, silver bullets, a wooden stake and mallet and garlic.
Kolar said she has been especially interested in quack medicine for many years and began collecting items purported to cure disease hundreds of years ago. Among the display is a vial of "Mummy Juice" which was allegedly taken from the remains of mummies and used to treat a variety of ailments in patients.
Kolar also has a "lavendar ray" machine which was used to treat people.
"Of course, none of these things did anything," she said.
Attached to the new Curiosity Museum is the popular Historic Museum of Torture Devices, a long standing display of a variety of torture devices used throughout the centuries. New to the Torture Museum are displays on Native American Foot Torture, Boiling Torture and Chinese and Japanese torture devices. All of the displays are replicas of original devices.
The museum is open Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. Admission is $6 per person and includes admission to both the Curiosity Museum and the Historic Museum of Torture Devices. The museum is also available for group tours and school field trips. Weekday tours are available by appointment only. For more information, go to www.mineralspringshauntedtours or call (618) 465-3200.