News: The Unnatural History Museum

Where can you find a mermaid, voodoo dolls, a miniature woolly pig, flying cats and dancing rats? In the wonder-cabinets of London’s new museum of curiosities, The Last Tuesday Society.

This little shop of horrors in Hackney is created and curated by the post-modern antiquarian Viktor Wynd. Wynd (his preferred form of address) describes himself as a ‘boy who never gave up collecting’. In 2005 he installed his curios in a Victorian high street shop, where he offered lessons in taxidermy (the new museum is stuffed with stuffed stuff), a lecture programme and a venue for Halloween celebrations and Goth dinner parties – guests sit around a table that contains a skeleton beneath a glass coffin lid.

This November Wynd transformed his shop into a museum. The £3 ticket price includes a cup of tea in the museum cafe, which is decorated with coral and an ‘unhealthy sprinkling’ of dead animals. On request, the curator will don his red velvet jacket and give a guided tour.

This bizarre bazaar is themed, from natural world objects – including a giant woodlouse, Dodo bones and the skeleton of Mortimer the lion – to medical samples and instruments, erotic illustrations, surrealist art prints and a collection of Furbies exhibited for maximum comic incongruity.

The Last Tuesday Society takes its name from a 19th century movement dedicated to ‘pataphysical studies’, the investigation of the absurdly mysterious world ‘beyond the beyond’. Wynd has brought this curious philosophy to a corner shop in east London – a Night(mare) at the Museum has come to Hackney.

The Last Tuesday Society. 11 Mare St, London E8. Five mins from Bethnal Green Tube, Daily 10am-10.30pm

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